b. June 18, 1975, Tallinn
Member of Association of Estonian Professional Musicians since 2005
Kuljus started his oboe studies at 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 winner 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 53th 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 been the 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 played at the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Nordic Symphony Orchestra, Finnish-Estonian Baroque Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker, Heidelberger Sinfoniker, Lyon Chamber Orchestra, Akademisches Orchester Freiburg and many others.
He has worked with renowned conductors like Sir Simon Rattle, Herbert Blomstedt, Thomas Hengelbrock, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Christian Thielemann, Alan Gilbert, Michael Gielen, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Richard Tognetti, Tõnu Kaljuste, Eri Klas, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi etc.
His later concerts include the Usedom Music Festival with NDR Sinfonieorchester under the baton of Neeme Järvi in 2013. The program featured Kuljus as a soloist at Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Oboe Concerto in C major K 314. In 2013 concert of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra took place at Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. The program conducted by David Geringas was Johann Christian Bach's Sinfonia concertante F major and Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Oboe d'amore BWV 1055. In 2011 Kuljus was a soloist at Estonian National Symphony Orchestra's concert at Estonia Concert Hall, where under the baton of Mikk Murdvee Richard Strauss' Oboe Concerto in D major was performed. In 2010 Kuljus performed with Afiinis Festival Orchestra in Japan. The program featured Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn K. 297b.
Kalev Kuljus is also active as a teacher. He has given several master classes in Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Naha), Taiwan, Brazil (Sao Paulo), Hamburg, China (Beijing) and Estonia. In 2001–2003 Kuljus worked in Tallinn Old Town Music School and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (docent). Since 2013 Kulju continues as a docent at Orchesterzentrum NRW.
The repertoire of Kalev Kuljus covers music from Baroque to contemporary music – it includes all the major oboe concerts by Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann, Alessandro Marcello, Tomaso Albinoni, Bohuslav Martinu, Pehr Henrik Nordgren, Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams ect. Many Estonian composers have dedicated their works to Kalev Kuljus such as Mari Vihmand La Question, Helena Tulve Guard, Tõnu Kõrvits Wildflower, La Folia, Wild Birds and Mart Siimer Shadows in the Snow. He has made recordings for Estonian Radio and Finlandia Records.
Kalev Kuljus has been awarded the Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia in 2001 and the V class Order of the White Star of the Republic of Estonia in 2004.
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