Kalev Kuljus

b. June 18, 1975, Tallinn
Member of the Association of Estonian Professional Musicians since 2005

Kalev Kuljus started his oboe studies at the Tallinn Children’s Music School. He continued at the Tallinn Music High School (1990–1993) with Tulike Loorits and the Estonian Academy of Music (1993–1999) with Olev Ainomäe. In 1995–1997, he studied at the Lyon National Conservatory, instructed by Prof. Jean-Christophe Gayot and in 1998–2000, at the Music University Karlsruhe with prof. Thomas Indermühle. He has participated in the master classes of Aale Lindgren, Georg Meerwein, Lajos Lencsés, Hansjörg Schellenberger, Maurice Bourgue, Stefan Schill and Jacques Tys.

Kalev Kuljus has been a prizewinner of several contests – he has won the 1st prize at the Competition for Estonian Woodwind Players (Tallinn, 1990), the 2nd International Crusell Competition for Wind Instruments (Uusikaupunki, 1999), the chamber music competition Junge Podium Musiker (Mannheim, 2000) and the 53rd Prague Spring International Music Festival (2001) and the 4th prize and the honorary title of the Best Oboist at the International Music Competition Pacem in Terris (Bayreuth, 2000).

Since 2003, Kalev Kuljus holds the position of solo oboe of the NDR Sinfonieorchester in Germany and since 2012 he is a frequent guest solo oboe at the Hamburg State Opera. He has been the solo oboist at the Filharmonica Arturo Toscanini in Italy (2004–2010) and the principal oboe of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (2000–2003). He has held the position of guest solo oboe at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (2003–2011), Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich (2003–2011), the Berliner Philharmoniker (2002–2004) and the Symphony Orchestra of the St. Petersburg (2001–2002). Additionally, he has performed with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, the Nordic Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish-Estonian Baroque Orchestra, the Münchner Philharmoniker, the Heidelberger Sinfoniker, the Lyon Chamber Orchestra, the Akademisches Orchester Freiburg and many others. In 2017, Kuljus performed Benjamin Britten’s Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for solo oboe at the grand opening of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

His has appeared as a soloist with many international orchestras such as the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Flensburger Sinfoniker, Bayreuther Sinfoniker, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Mikkeli Chamber Orchestra, Lappeenranta Chamber Orchestra, Turku Symphony Orchestra, Capella Istropolitana, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra.

Kalev Kuljus has worked with renowned conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Mariss Jansons, Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, William Christi, Zubin Mehta, Bernard Haitink, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Riccardo Muti, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Juha Kangas, Susanna Mäkki, Jorma Panula, Bernard Haitnik, Zubin Mehta, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Eri Klas, Tõnu Kaljuste, Olari Elts and others.

The repertoire of Kalev Kuljus covers all the major oboe concerts from Baroque to contemporary music (Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann, Alessandro Marcello, Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Tomaso Albinoni, Bohuslav Martinů, Pehr Henrik Nordgren, Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams). Many Estonian composers have dedicated their works to Kalev Kuljus such as Mari Vihmand's La Question, Helena Tulve's Guard, Tõnu Kõrvits's Wildflower, La Folia, Wild Birds and Mart Siimer's Shadows in the Snow. He has made recordings for the Estonian Public Broadcasting and the label Finlandia Records.

Kalev Kuljus is also active as an oboe teacher. Since 2011, he works as Assistant Guest Lecturer at the Karlsruhe's University of Music (class of Prof. Thomas Indermühle). He has also been the professor of oboe, English horn and wind ensemble at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (2001–2003) and given several master classes all over the world (Brasil, Taiwan, China, Japan, Germany, Malaysia, Austria, Finland and Estonia). He has been a jury member of different oboe competitions.

Since 2012, he is a member of the trio Ensemble Blumina with pianist Elisaveta Blumina and bassoonist Mathias Baier. Their CD of music by Previn, Françaix and Poulenc was awarded the Best CD of the Year in Chamber Music of the 20th Century category by ECHO Klassik (2013). In 2014, Kalev Kuljus released his solo album with Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra with Baroque concertos for oboe and oboe d’amour by Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi and Marcello (Alba Records).

Since 2004, he has been in close collaboration with Japanese Josef Woodwind Manufacturer and since 2018, he plays on a model KULJUS of Josef-Oboe.

Kalev Kuljus has been awarded the Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (2001) and the 5th class Order of the White Star of the Republic of Estonia (2004).

© EMIC 2008
(updated 2014)

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