Called “a tremendous talent” (Sequenza 21) and “an artist to be reckoned with” (Gramophone), American violinist and violist Miranda Cuckson is a favorite of audiences for her performances of a range of repertoire and styles, from well- and lesser-known classical works to the most current creations. Having grown up immersed in the classical core repertoire, she has in recent years become one of the most sought-after performers of contemporary music. As a soloist and chamber musician, she appears in major concert halls, as well as at universities, galleries and informal spaces. She performs at such venues as the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Library of Congress, Teatro Colón, Miller Theatre, 92nd St Y, Guggenheim Museum, Bargemusic, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, BAM, Strathmore, Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series, and the Marlboro, Bard, Lincoln Center, Roaring Hooves, Bridgehampton, Portland, Music Mountain and Bodensee festivals.
She has made lauded appearances as soloist with orchestras in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including her recent Carnegie Hall debut in Piston’s concerto with the American Symphony Orchestra and Leon Botstein, and performances with the Alabama, Indianapolis, Virginia, Long Beach, Shanghai, Beijing and Jerusalem Symphony’s and Aspen Festival Orchestra as winner of their concerto competition.
Her first recording was a disk of concertos of Korngold and Ponce with the Czech National Symphony, on Centaur Records. She subsequently made recital CDs of seminal 20th-century American music for Centaur: music by Ross Lee Finney, Ralph Shapey (2-CD set) and Donald Martino. These were awarded grants from the Copland Fund (four times in a row) and Ditson Fund. In 2010, Vanguard Classics released “the wreckage of flowers”, solo and duo music by Michael Hersch. Releases in 2014 included “Melting the Darkness”, solo microtonal and electronics pieces by Xenakis, Haas, Bianchi and more; and Sessions’ Sonata for solo violin, Carter’s Duo and a duo by Jason Eckardt with Blair McMillen (Urlicht). Her recording of Nono’s “La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura” for violin and electronics (Urlicht) with Christopher Burns, was named a Best Classical Recording of 2012 by the New York Times. Her new CD for ECM Records, violin/piano music by Bartók, Schnittke and Lutoslawski with pianist Blair McMillen, has just been released.
In addition to working with many emerging composing talents, Miranda has collaborated with celebrated composers including Dutilleux, Carter, Adès, Sciarrino, Adams, Boulez, Hyla, Hersch, Eckardt, Mackey, Crumb, Lachenmann, Saariaho, Davidovsky, Hurel, Iyer, Bermel, Shaw, Lindberg, Wyner, Haas, Murail, Wuorinen, Currier, Glass and Rzewski. She has curated and performed in concerts of Shapey’s music on Miller Theatre’s Composer Portraits series and at Contempo at the University of Chicago. In 2012, the McKim Fund of the Library of Congress commissioned for her a piece by Harold Meltzer, which she premiered on Fritz Kreisler’s Guarneri del Gesu violin.
She is founder of Nunc (with which she curates or organizes concerts on a sporadic basis), and a member of the new-music collective counter)induction. As guest curator in the inaugural year at National Sawdust, she presented premieres of new works and performed solo and with ensembles. She has collaborated with ensembles including Continuum, Sequitur, Talea Ensemble, ICE, Da Capo Chamber Players, Locrian Chamber Players, Collide-o-Scope and Fonema Consort. She was the violinist of Argento Chamber Ensemble from 2003-2011, and founding violinist for several years in ACME, the Lost Dog Ensemble and the Momenta Quartet.
She is interested in all forms of art and enjoys projects such as Barber’s Concerto with the New York City Ballet, the Stravinsky Concerto on the Guggenheim Museum’s “Works and Process” as part of the Balanchine centennial, Stravinsky’s Duo Concertant with the State Ballet of Georgia, and various works with New Chamber Ballet and the New York Choreographic Institute. With Nunc, she produced the premiere of “On the Threshold of Winter”, a fully staged chamber opera by Michael Hersch.
Miranda studied at The Juilliard School, from ages 9 to 17 in the Pre-College and onward for her BM, MM and DMA degrees (as a C.V. Starr Fellow). She won Juilliard’s Presser Music Award and the Richard F. French Prize for best doctoral dissertation. Her teachers included Felix Galimir, Robert Mann, Dorothy DeLay, Shirley Givens, and for chamber music, Fred Sherry and the Juilliard Quartet. She is on the violin faculty at Mannes College and the Composers Conference, and has given masterclasses and seminars at many conservatories and universities.
A United States citizen, she was born in Australia and grew up in New York. Her musician parents are Austrian-Jewish/English and Taiwanese. Cuckson, an old English name originally found in Yorkshire, is pronounced “Cookson”, as in the word to “cook”.