Violinist/violist Miranda Cuckson enjoys performing both as a soloist and chamber musician and is a favorite of audiences for her playing of a range of repertoire, from well- and lesser-known older works to the most current creations. Having grown up immersed in the classical repertoire, she has in recent years become one of the most active performers of contemporary music. According to Downbeat magazine, “violinist Miranda Cuckson reaffirms her standing as one of the most sensitive and electric interpreters of new music.” She appears in concert and recital halls large and small, at schools and universities, galleries, clubs and informal spaces. Some of those venues include 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 worldwide, 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.
A passionate recording artist, her first CD was a disk of concertos by 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. For these projects she was awarded grants from the Copland Fund (four times in a row) and the Ditson Fund. In 2010, Vanguard Classics released “the wreckage of flowers”, solo and duo music by Michael Hersch. Her recording of Luigi 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. In 2014, Urlicht released her all-solo album “Melting the Darkness” – solo microtonal and electronics pieces by Xenakis, Haas, Bianchi and more – and her disk comprising Sessions’ Sonata for solo violin, Carter’s Duo and a commissioned duo by Jason Eckardt with Blair McMillen (Urlicht). Her new CD for ECM Records, violin/piano music by Bartók, Schnittke and Lutoslawski, with Blair McMillen, was released this year internationally.
In addition to working with emerging composing talents, Miranda has collaborated with an array of celebrated composers from around the world 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 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 the 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 chamber groups including Continuum, Sequitur, Talea Ensemble, ICE, Yarn/Wire, Horszowski Trio, JACK Quartet, Decoda, 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 topic was composer Ross Lee Finney, his folk-music background and the evolution of his idea of musical complementarity). 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 the Mannes School of Music/New School University and the Composers Conference, and she has given masterclasses and seminars at numerous conservatories and universities.
A United States citizen, she was born in Australia and grew up in New York. Her musician parents are Austrian/English and Taiwanese. Cuckson, an old English name originally found in Yorkshire, is pronounced “Cookson”, as in the word to “cook”.