Violinist and violist Miranda Cuckson delights audiences in the US and abroad with her playing of a large range of repertoire, from the newest creations to older works. Coming from a thorough grounding in the classical repertoire, she works at the forefront of today’s music scene. She works with an open-minded and adventurous but strongly individual view on contemporary music. She is passionate about the creative role of the performer/interpreter in the artistic process and in communicating the music. According to Downbeat magazine, “violinist Miranda Cuckson reaffirms her standing as one of the most sensitive and electric interpreters of new music.” Her recording of Luigi Nono’s “La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura” for violin and electronics with Christopher Burns (Urlicht AV) was named a Best Classical Recording of 2012 by the New York Times.
In September 2017, she premiered a new violin concerto by Georg Friedrich Haas at the Suntory Festival with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov. In 2018 she performs it with the Staatsorchester Stuttgart and the Orchestra of Casa da Musica in Porto. She will also give the New York premiere of Michael Hersch’s Violin Concerto.
Miranda appears in concert halls, festivals, schools, universities, galleries and informal spaces. Venues include the Berlin Philharmonie, Teatro Colón, Carnegie Hall, Library of Congress, Miller Theatre, 92nd St Y, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Strathmore, Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series, and the Marlboro, Bard, Lincoln Center, West Cork, Bridgehampton, Portland, Music Mountain and Bodensee festivals. She performs as soloist with orchestras internationally, including her Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium) debut in Walter Piston’s concerto with the American Symphony Orchestra and performances with the Alabama, Indianapolis, Virginia, Long Beach, Shanghai, Beijing and Jerusalem Symphony’s. She played the Elgar concerto at the Aspen Music Festival as winner of their concerto competition.
In addition to her ongoing engagement with the classical repertoire – including the concerto and sonata repertoire and the solo works of JS Bach – Miranda plays a large number and variety of contemporary works. Among the works recently written for her are compositions by Georg Friedrich Haas, Michael Hersch, Jason Eckardt, George Lewis, Lu Wang, Steve Lehman, Harold Meltzer, Ileana Perez Velasquez and Douglas Boyce. She has recently collaborated in performance with composers Huang Ruo, Michael Hersch, Vijay Iyer, Nina C. Young, and Philip Glass. She has worked with an array of celebrated composers from around the world that includes Dutilleux, Carter, Adès, Sciarrino, Adams, Boulez, Hyla, Mackey, Crumb, Lachenmann, Saariaho, Davidovsky, Hurel, Bermel, Shaw, Lindberg, Wyner, Murail, Wuorinen, Currier and Rzewski. She curated and performed in concerts of Ralph Shapey’s music on Miller Theatre’s Composer Portraits series and at Contempo at the University of Chicago. The McKim Fund of the Library of Congress commissioned a piece for her by Harold Meltzer which she premiered on Fritz Kreisler’s Guarneri del Gesù violin from the library’s instrument collection. Miranda considers her work with emerging composing talents an important component of her work, and she frequently works with young composers at universities and summer programs.
She has released ten enthusiastically received albums. Her 2017 album of music by Wolpe, Carter and Ferneyhough (on Urlicht Audiovisual) has been lauded by Brian Ferneyhough and adds to her varied and adventurous discography. In 2016, ECM Records released her album of Bartók, Schnittke and Lutoslawski duos with pianist Blair McMillen. Her first CD recording in her discography is the concertos of Korngold and Ponce with the Czech National Symphony, on Centaur Records. She subsequently was awarded grants from the Copland Fund (four times in a row) and the Ditson Fund to make recital albums in which she championed seminal 20th-century American music: music by Ross Lee Finney, Ralph Shapey (2-CD set) and Donald Martino. In 2010, Vanguard Classics released “the wreckage of flowers”: music by Michael Hersch. In 2014, Urlicht released “Melting the Darkness” – solo microtonal and violin/electronics pieces by Xenakis, Haas, Bianchi, Rowe and more – and a disk comprising Sessions’ Sonata for violin, Carter’s Duo and a duo by Jason Eckardt with pianist Blair McMillen. Her playing is also featured on numerous albums and recordings of other artists, including Jeffrey Mumford, Anna Weesner, Dai Fujikura, Philip Glass and more.
She is the director of Nunc (with which she programs concerts on a sporadic basis) and a performing member of counter)induction and AMOC. As guest curator at Brooklyn venue National Sawdust, she programs premieres of new works and performs solo and with groups. She has collaborated with numerous ensembles including Continuum, Sequitur, Talea Ensemble, ICE, Yarn/Wire, Horszowski Trio, JACK Quartet, Decoda, Loadbang, Da Capo Chamber Players, Locrian Chamber Players, Collide-o-Scope and Fonema Consort. She was the founding violinist of Argento Chamber Ensemble from 2003-2011 and for several years of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), Lost Dog Ensemble and Momenta Quartet.
Miranda enjoys all forms of art and has performed Barber’s concerto with the New York City Ballet, the Stravinsky concerto on the Guggenheim Museum’s “Works and Process” for 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, starting at age nine 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’s violin music, his folksong background and the evolution of his style). She studied with Shirley Givens from ages 9 to 13, with Dorothy DeLay from 14 to 21, and with Robert Mann for her graduate degrees. She also worked closely with Felix Galimir, and with Fred Sherry and the Juilliard String Quartet. She teaches at the Mannes School of Music, College and Prep divisions, and at the Composers Conference/Contemporary Performance Institute. She gives masterclasses and seminars at numerous conservatories and universities.
A US citizen, she was born in Australia and grew up in New York. Her parents, a composer and a pianist, are Austrian/English and Taiwanese. Cuckson, an old English name originally found in Yorkshire, is pronounced “Cookson”, as in the word to “cook”.
"Her tonal luster and variety of touch enliven everything she plays."
"...she had clear feelings about the music and crafted her phrasing to convey that meaning."
"...Ms. Cuckson is synonymous with the music of today."