b. April 21, 1971 Tallinn
Martin Kuuskmann is one of the most versatile and captivating bassoon soloists of his generation, whose repertoire spans from early Baroque to jazz. Musician, born in Estonia and living in New York, has gained a recognition as one of the leading young instrumentalist around. The New York Times has described his playing as “dynamic…amazing…gripping” and “Mr. Kuuskmann played stunningly…”.
Kuuskmann studied bassoon at the Tallinn Music High School (Ilmar Aasmets’s class, 1986–1990), also took lessons from Andres Lepnurm and Peeter Sarapuu. As a high-school graduate he went for an exchange student to California where he studied at the San José State University in Vernon Reed’s class (1990–1992) and at the same time privately with Rufus Olivier. In 1995, he graduated from the Yale Univeristy School of Music with Performance Certificate in Stephen Maxym’s class. In 1997, he obtained B.M. at the Manhattan School of Music (Frank Morelli’s class) and M.M. at the Yale University School of Music in 1998.
1997–2003 he worked as a bassoon and chamber music teacher in preparatory division of New York Mannes College of Music. He is a teacher of the contemporary performance faculty at the Manhattan School of Music since 2007. He has held master courses in USA (Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, Duke University, Hunter College), Canada (University of British Columbia), several places in Europe including Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.
He has performed as a soloist in front of many orchestras, including Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian-Finnish Symphony Orchestra, Pärnu City Orchestra, Macau Orchestra, NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), Jupiter Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Bellingham Festival Orchestra (USA), R?gas Kamerm?zi?i. In the season 2007/2008, Kuuskmann appeared as a soloist in the concert series of New York Philharmonic, performing Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XII for solo bassoon.
In Kuuskmann’s wide repertoire, contemporary music holds a special place. He intensivley collaborates with composers, he has been written bassoon concertos by Americans Christopher Theofanidis, Gene Pritsker, Charles Coleman, David Chesky and Eino Tamberg, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Tõnu Kõrvits among Estonian composers. Kuuskmann’s performance of Chesky’s bassoon concerto on the CD Urban Concertos (Chesky Records, 2007) was the Grammy nominee in the best contemporary work composition category in 2007, at the same time being the only bassoon piece that has been nominated in Grammy history.
Kuuskmann belongs to the staff of many ensembles: Absolute Ensemble (foundation member), Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York, Ensemble Sospeso, Sequitur, electro-acoustic duo Taylor-Kuuskmann Project (with bass trombonist David Taylor), Duo Martinika (with flutist Maarika Järvi), progressive chamber jazz duo MKx2 (with composer and keyboard player Miguel Kertsman) and others. He has played in several USA orchestras (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra), Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Estonian-Finnish Symphony Orchestra. In the season 2007/2008, he performed with Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra on invitation of Maestro Myung-Whun Chung.
His chamber music partners have included musicians like Göran Söllscher, Kirill Gerstein, Alexander Markovich, Matt Herskowitz, John Patitucci, Gerry Mulligan, Joe Zawinul, Daniel Schnyder, Jan Bjøranger, Bernie Heinrichs, Joseph Robinson, Robert Langevin, Richard Bona, Juliette Greco, Patrick Gallois, Kristjan Randalu, Ralf Taal, Lea Leiten, Heiki Mätlik, Mihkel Peäske, Toomas Vavilov, string quartets Sirius and Meta4. As a highly requested chamber musician, he has participated at numerous international music festivals including Bremen, Hamburg, Kuhmo, Gstaad, Umeå, Kristiansand, Banff, Bellingham, Cologne, Pärnu. Solo concerts has taken him to Europe, Japan, Macau, Australia, USA and Canada.
He plays as a soloist on 6 CDs, among others CD Absolute mix (CCn’C, 2000) that won the German Record Critics Award (2000) and CD Absolution (Enja Records, 2001) that was a Grammy nominee in the category of best small ensemble performance (2001). With Estonian composer Peeter Vähi and Tibetan monks, Kuuskmann plays bassoon improvisations on CD The Path of Mantra (Erdenklang, 2002). His first solo CD in collaboration with pianist Kristjan Randalu will be released in 2008.
Kuuskmann’s technique and virtuosity are remarkable. You name it, he does it all!
Ronald Klimko. Bassoon CD Reviews. - International Double Reed Society Magazine, No. 4, 2001
...the bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann offered virtuoso technique and superhuman breath control in “Sequenza XII”.
Steve Smith. In Single File, Berio’s Menagerie on Parade. - The New York Times, February 5, 2008
Home page of Martin Kuuskmann.
Martin Kuuskmann is represented by AS Artists Management.
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