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Denver Professor Nominated For Grammy

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) - The 59th Annual Grammy Awards are around the corner and a professor at the University of Denver is among those nominated for the music industry's most prestigious award.

"It's a huge honor," Martin Kuuskmann, professor and bassoonist for the Lamont School of Music, told CBS4's Kelly Werthmann.

Martin Kuuskmann (credit: CBS)

Kuuskmann is a world-renowned bassoonist from Estonia and one of today's leading solo instrumentalists. He has collaborated with composers all around the world and performed in a number of the world's leading orchestras.

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An arrangement he recently recorded is a nominee for Best Contemporary Composition and is Kuuskmann's second Grammy nod.

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"This time it's a concerto by Christopher Theofanidis, who is a friend of mine and a professor at Yale," Kuuskmann said.

Kuuskmann met Theofanidis while the two were attending the Yale School of Music in the 90s. For the past 20 years, the pair has perfected the bassoon concerto as Kuuskmann performed it on concert stages worldwide.

CBS4's Kelly Werthmann interviews Martin Kuuskmann (credit: CBS)

"I've been playing his concerto around the world, many times, including Carnegie Hall and so forth," he said. "[Theofanidis] wrote it. I played it, brought it alive and poured my heart and soul into it."

It was only recently that Theofanidis and Kuuskmann decided to record the bassoon concerto, ultimately earning the Grammy nomination.

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"I don't underestimate the magnitude of Grammys at all," Kuuskmann said. "It's huge to be nominated."

This weekend, Kuuskmann will find out if his hard work will bring home a Grammy win. However, even if it does, his name will not be listed on the gold award because the nomination is for composition, not performer.

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"It's great just to be amongst there," he said of being part of the nominated work. "One day though."

The Grammy Awards air live on CBS4 on Sunday at 6 p.m.

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Kuuskmann is performing in a concert that same weekend in Germany, so he will not be attending the awards ceremony. Instead, he will be crossing his fingers from abroad.

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Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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