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Martin Kuuskmann

Grammy nominated Estonian-born bassoon virtuoso


Grammy nominated Estonian-born bassoon virtuoso, Martin Kuuskmann’s charismatic and commanding performances throughout the world have earned him repute as one of the leading solo instrumentalists of his generation. Kuuskmann has appeared with conductors Neeme, Paavo and Kristjan Järvi, Robert Spano, Tõnu Kaljuste, Risto Joost, Nikolay Aleksejev, Anu Tali, Mihhail Gerts, Kirk Trevor, Leonid Grin, and with orchestras such as Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Chile, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Estonian Festival Orchestra, Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestra, Macao Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Norrlandsoperan, and many others.

Constantly pushing the boundaries for new artistic and technical possibilities, Kuuskmann has premiered 11 bassoon concertos, all written and dedicated to him by some of the foremost composers of our time, including Erkki-Sven Tüür, Christopher Theofanidis, Eino Tamberg, Tõnu Kõrvits, Ülo Krigul, Gene Pritsker, David Chesky, Gregor Huebner and Charles Coleman. Kuuskmann’s collaboration with composers including Daniel Schnyder, Helena Tulve and jazz icon John Patitucci have led to numerous new solo works from bassoon and string quartet to amplified bassoon and electronics.  In 2013 Kuuskmann made his highly acclaimed Carnegie Hall concerto debut in Zankel Hall with the Christopher Theofanidis Bassoon Concerto and the American Composers Orchestra. Known for his deft performances of the monumental solo work by Luciano Berio, Sequenza XII, Kuuskmann was invited as a soloist in 2008 for the New York Philharmonic’s “Day of Berio” in Rose Theater at Lincoln Center.  Since 2011 Kuuskmann has been invited annually as a concerto soloist at the International Double Reed Society Conventions.  Kuuskmann’s 2016/17 seasons projects include a newly commissioned solo work from the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra for bassoon, flute and orchestra by Pall Ragnar Palsson as well as a concert/cd project based on popular music of Brazil.

As a highly regarded chamber and orchestral musician, Kuuskmann has been the principal bassoonist of the renown Estonian Festival Orchestra by the invitation of maestro Paavo Järvi since 2011, and has been a guest artist in Bremen Musikfest, Landsberg, Kuhmo, Gaia, Umeå, Victoria, Nargen, Menuhin Festival Gstaad Festivals, to name a few.  Kuuskmann is a co-founder of the Berlin based Trio Mann along with oboist Christoph Hartmann (of the Berlin Philharmonic) and pianist Hendrik Heilmann.  Kuuskmann has been a guest artist and soloist on several tours with the Berlin Philharmonic chamber groups Ensemble Berlin and the Berlin Philharmonic Winds. Kuuskmann’s chamber music partners have included Kirill Gernstein, Stephen Williamson, Matthew Hunt, Riccardo Morales, Gordon Hunt, Maarika Järvi, Ole Edvard Antonsen, Miguel Kertsman, David Taylor, Ron Patterson, Jovino Santos Neto, John Patitucci, Kristjan Randalu, Daniel Schnyder, and many other esteemed artists.  Kuuskmann is a founding member and solo bassoonist of the New York City based Absolute Ensemble.

As a recording artist, Kuuskmann received a 2007 Grammy Nomination for his recording of David Chesky’s bassoon concerto. Kuuskmann’s acclaimed solo cd “Nonstop” and other solo albums are available on ERP, Simax, Erdenklang, CCn’C and Chesky record labels, including his most recent “Bassoon Concertos” on ERP label with the much awaited recording of Christopher Theofanidis’ Bassoon Concerto along with live concert recordings of Mozart and Hummel Concertos.  Kuuskmann’s recordings and performances of transcribed works have created several publications for bassoon and piano, including Arvo Pärt’s luminous “Spiegel im Spiegel” on Universal Editions and Daniel Schnyder’s Bassoon Sonata on Editions Kunzelmann.  Kuuskmann’s live and archived solo performances have been broadcast regularly on radio stations across the world.  In addition to numerous major movie soundtracks and video games, Kuuskmann’s has recorded the entire bassoon sound library for the acclaimed Cinesample Cinepro Winds online software.

An avid educator, Kuuskmann is an Assistant Professor of Bassoon at the Lamont School of Music at University of Denver and served for several years as a bassoon and contemporary performance faculty at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.  Kuuskmann has given masterclasses worldwide and has been a regular faculty in Pärnu Music Festival’s Järvi Academy since 2011, as well as in South-America’s leading festivals of Campos do Jõrdau, Curitiba and Sesc Pelotas festivals in Brazil. Kuuskmann taught for a number years at the Arosa Music Academy in Switzerland.  Since 2010 Kuuskmann as been the woodwind coach of the Berlin based Baltic Sea Philharmonic led by Kristjan Järvi.

Kuuskmann received his M.M. from Yale School of Music and B.A. from the Manhattan Schools of Music.  His mentors include Stephen Maxym, Frank Morelli, Rufus Olivier and Vernon Read.  An artist of Bernd Moosmann bassoons, Miller Marketing Company and Legere reeds, Martin Kuuskmann plays on the Moosmann 222CL model bassoon.

Moosmann 222CL


Documentary on Martin Kuuskmann, Estonian Television

CBS4 Denver News, 2017 Grammy Nomination news story on Kuuskmann


Christopher Theofanidis Bassoon Concerto (1997/2002)


Moosmann 222CL