Martin Kuuskmann – among the most versatile and engaging bassoon soloists of his generation. The New York Times: “dynamic… amazing… gripping…”; International Double Reed Society Magazine: “Kuuskmann’s technique and virtuosity are remarkable… you-name-it, he does it all!”
Estonian born bassoon virtuoso, Martin Kuuskmann is a commanding force bent on redefining the bassoon as a top caliber solo instrument. His charismatic and entertaining performances throughout the world have earned him repute as one of the leading instrumentalists around. The New York Times praised Kuuskmann’s playing as “dynamic… amazing… gripping…” and in 2007 he received a Grammy Nomination for his recording of Chesky’s Bassoon Concerto and in 2017 for recording of Theofanidis’ Bassoon Concerto (ERP 8215).
Kuuskmann has appeared as soloist in the New York Philharmonic series performing Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XII for bassoon solo, the Macao Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Nordic Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta Rīga, Absolute Ensemble, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the NorrlandsOperan in Sweden, among many others, and in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln and Kennedy Center. Kuuskmann conducts master classes and is the woodwind coach with the Baltic Youth Philharmonic at the Usedom Music Festival in Germany at the invitation of Kristjan Järvi.
Martin Kuuskmann’s recent solo album Nonstop with pianist Kristjan Randalu was released in April of 2010 on Estonian Record Productions, and contains works by J S Bach, Berio, Pärt, Schnyder, Jobim, among others.
Kuuskmann’s ambitions to explore contemporary music have led to the premieres of eight new bassoon concerti to date written exclusively for him by conductors such as Erkki-Sven Tüür, Eino Tamberg, Tõnu Kõrvits, Gregor Huebner, Christopher Theofanidis, Charles Coleman, Gene Pritsker and most recently David Chesky.
His collaboration with the jazz legend, John Patitucci, led to the creation of Caprice No 1 for bassoon and strings by Patitucci which he has performed in several venues across the world. His work with conductors Daniel Schnyder, Randall Woolf, Gene Pritsker, Matt Herskowitz, Robert Martin has produced an array of works from acoustic to amplified and electronically enhanced compositions. Kuuskmann’s rendition of Daniel Schnyder’s Bassoon Sonata (also for clarinet, oboe and soprano saxophone) was recently published by the Edition Kunzelmann.
A highly sought-after chamber musician, Kuuskmann’s chamber music partners have included David Taylor, Kirill Gerstein, Robert Kulek, Kristjan Randalu, Gregor Huebner, Jan Bjoranger, Meta4 and Sirius String Quartets, Goran Söllscher, Maarika Järvi, Patrick Gallois, Paquito D’Rivera, among many other distinguished artists. Kuuskmann has been a guest at numerous international music festivals including Bremen, Hamburg, Kuhmo, Oulunsalo, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Umeå, Kristiansand, Banff and Hong Kong World Music Days.
A founding member of the Grammy nominated Absolute Ensemble, Martin Kuuskmann has been a featured soloist in Michael Daugherty’s virtuosic and madcap concerto, Dead Elvis, a work Kuuskmann has performed nearly 50 times around the world receiving wide critical acclaim. As a soloist, Kuuskmann has recorded on Chesky Records, CCn’C and ERP record labels. His world music album on Erdenklang Records, The Path of Mantra, combines solo bassoon with the chanting of the Tibetan monks and electronic sounds by Peeter Vähi. Kuuskmann’s solo performances have been broadcast on BBC, CBC, NPR (wnyc, wfmt, etc), Hong Kong Radio as well as on numerous European radio stations.
Kuuskmann has appeared as a solo principal bassoonist with the Seoul Philharmonic at the invitation of Myung-Whun Chung. He was the solo principal bassoonist of the Nordic Symphony Orchestra from 1998-2001. While living and freelancing in New York City he appeared regularly as principal bassoon with the Orchestra of the St Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Miss Saigon on Broadway, to name just a few. After moving to the Seattle area he continues to record on numerous motion picture soundtracks.
Born in Tallinn, Martin Kuuskmann graduated from Tallinn Music High School and received degrees at Manhattan School of Music and Yale University School of Music. His mentors include Stephen Maxym, Frank Morelli, Rufus Olivier, Vernon Read, and Ilmar Aasmets. As a highly in demand teacher, Kuuskmann has and continues to give lectures and master classes in major conservatories and universities in North-America and Europe. Kuuskmann is a member of a New York based new music ensemble Sequitur, and a former member of the New York Lyric Chamber Music Society, where he has premiered numerous solo chamber works and conducted educational projects. Kuuskmann is a faculty at the Manhattan School of Music Contemporary Performance Program. While not on his travels he
enjoys teaching his private studio of students from his home in Washington state.
|THE PATH OF MANTRA
with Drikung Kagyu monks and Peeter Vähi
2002 Erdenklang 21092
Celestial Lake (from The Path Of Mantra), fragm, 92 sec, mp3
with William Schimmel and David Rozenblatt
2001 CCn’C 01312
Esitaja: Martin Kuuskmann
Grammy Nominee 2017. Nominee of Estonian Music Award 2016 in the category of classical music, the best CD in the category of symphonic and stage music
#7, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Bassoon Concerto, Mov I, fragm, mp3, 320 Kbps
Daugherty Dead Elvis with Absolute Ensemble
2002 Enja Records ENJ 9449 2
Daugherty Dead Elvis with Absolute Ensemble
2000 CCn’C 00702
German Record Critics Award 2000
|ARCTURUS FOR SOLO BASSOON
Martin Nine Stellar Pieces
2000 Furious Artsans Records FACD6803
Music by Bach, Berio, Pärt, Kõrvits, ao
with Kristjan Randalu
2010 ERP 2209
David Chesky, fragm, 121 sec, mp3
The evening’s other guest artist was the amazing bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann, who is intent on having a successful solo career, not exactly common among players of his instrument. Mr Kuuskmann has won considerable notice for his dynamic performances with the Absolute Ensemble, especially his solo turn in Michael Daugherty’s Dead Elvis, which Mr Kuuskmann performs as an Elvis impersonator, complete with gyrations and glittery costume. (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 21.05.02, USA)
But bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann steals the show for his swaggering performance of Michael Daugherty’s Dead Elvis, complete with glittering costume. Thank You very much. (The Australian, 04.10.02, Australia)
Martin Kuuskmann, bassoonist, operates under a peculiar handicap. The moment he steps onto the stage, the audience falls head-over-heals in love with him. Here’s a guy who laces a serious concert with a dry sense of humor that is almost corny at times, and he gets away with it. He’s caught in the web of charisma… (Richard Clark, The Northern Light, 20.01.05, USA, whole article)
Martin Kuuskmann shows without question that there is very little that he can’t do on the bassoon. His technique and virtuosity are remarkable throughout – from double tonguing to circular breathing to multiphonics to incredible high notes to you-name-it, he does it all! (International Double Reed Society Magazine)
An excellent performance of Erkki-Sven Tüür’s bassoon concerto… Kuuskmann’s playing was true heaven. (Västerbottens Folkblad, Sweden)
Mõnikord mõjub üsna värskendavalt üks akadeemilise kavaga, kuid ettekandeliselt üldsegi mitte akadeemiline kontsert. /…/ Sisuliselt oli tegemist Kuuskmanni-Randalu plaadi esitluskontserdiga, kuna Estonian Record Productions üllitas just nüüd nende CD “Nonstop”… Mis puudutab ansamblikooslust Kristjan Randaluga, siis esituslikult oli kõige põnevam kahtlemata Šveitsi päritolu Daniel Schnyderi (1961) Sonaat fagotile ja klaverile. (Igor Garšnek, Sirp, 07.05.10, Estonia, whole article)