Soloist, Featured Soloist and Chamber Musician
“I’ve always enjoyed playing on a Légère. I find I’ve been able to do whatever I needed to do musically to make the performance or a practice meaningful and enjoyable. The fact remains, a Légère reed is extremely stable and reliable.” – Martin Kuuskmann
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 today. The New York Times praised Kuuskmann’s playing as “...the amazing bassoonist...Kuuskmann played stunningly...”
Constantly pushing the boundaries for new artistic and technical possibilities, Kuuskmann has premiered ten 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, David Chesky, Ülo Krigul and Gene Pritsker. Kuuskmann’s collaboration with composers including Daniel Schnyder, Helena Tulve and jazz icon John Patitucci have lead to numerous new solo works from bassoon and string quartet to amplified bassoon and electronics. Kuuskmann has performed Michael Daugherty’s madcap concerto “Dead Elvis” across the world nearly 50 times and won the prestigious German Record Critics Prize, aka. the German Grammy in 2001 with Absolute Ensemble and the recording of “Dead Elvis.”
A frequent soloist with Neeme Järvi and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Kuuskmann has appeared with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Sinfonietta Riga, Macao Orchestra, Absolute Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra of the Norrlandsoperan, Baltic Sea Youth Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, 1B1 Ensemble, to name a few. Kuuskmann's 2014/15 season includes concertos by Tüür, Krigul, Theofanidis, Mozart and Hummel and appearances with the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Chile, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestra, São Paulo State Youth Orchestra, Pärnu Festival Orchestra, Campos do Jordau Festival, among others. In 2013 Kuuskmann made his acclaimed Carnegie Hall concerto debut in Zankel Hall with the Christopher Theofanidis Bassoon Concerto under Robert Spano 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 guest 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 has been a guest artist in Bremen Musikfest, Landsberg, Kuhmo, Gaia, Umeå, Menuhin Festival Gstaad Festivals, to name a few. As an avid chamber musician Kuuskmann is a co-founder of the Berlin based Trio Mann along with oboist Christoph Hartmann (Berlin Philharmonic) exploring a wide range of repertory from solo chamber music to trios. Kuuskmann is the solo principal bassoonist of the Pärnu Festival Orchestra, under the invitation of Paavo Järvi, since its inception in 2010.
A graduate of the Yale and the Manhattan Schools of Music, Kuuskmann’s mentors include Stephen Maxym, Frank Morelli and Rufus Olivier. Kuuskmann teaches at the Manhattan School of Music and at Cornish College of Arts in Seattle, and serves as the woodwind coach of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic since 2010. Kuuskmann is a founding member and solo bassoonist of the New York City based Absolute Ensemble. An artist of Bernd Moosmann bassoons, Miller Marketing Company and Légère Reeds, Kuuskmann plays on the Moosmann 222CL model bassoon.