Called “a tremendous talent” (Sequenza 21) and “an artist to be reckoned with” (Gramophone), 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 repertoire to the most current creations. She has in recent years become one of the most sought-after performers of contemporary music. In demand 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, 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 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 and Ditson Funds. 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.
She is director of the not-for-profit Nunc which she founded in 2007, and a member of the new-music collective counter)induction. As guest curator at National Sawdust, she has presented premieres of new works and performed solo and with ensembles. In addition to working with many emerging composing talents, she has collaborated with composers including Dutilleux, Carter, Adès, Sciarrino, Adams, Boulez, Hyla, Mackey, Crumb, Lachenmann, Saariaho, Davidovsky, Hurel, Iyer, Bermel, Shaw, Lindberg, Wyner, Haas, Murail, Wuorinen, Currier, Glass and Rzewski.
In 2012, the McKim Fund of the Library of Congress commissioned for her a work by Harold Meltzer, which she performed on Fritz Kreisler’s Guarneri violin. A champion of Shapey’s music, she has curated/performed in concerts of his music on Miller Theatre’s Composer Portraits and Contempo at the University of Chicago. She has performed with ensembles including Continuum, Sequitur, Talea Ensemble, ICE, Da Capo Chamber Players, Locrian Chamber Players, CollideOScope 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 was awarded Juilliard’s Presser 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 Sydney, Australia and is of Austrian/Jewish, English and Taiwanese descent. Cuckson, an old English name originally found in Yorkshire, is pronounced “Cookson”, as in the word to “cook”.