Bassoonist Nicolasa Kuster joined the faculty of the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in Stockton, California in the Fall of 2008. She is a Founding Co-Director of the Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition, a biennial competition for young women bassoonists from the Americas which awards $20,500 in prizes. She is Principal Bassoon of the Stockton Symphony and a member of the Pacific Arts Woodwind Quintet. Previous positions include Principal Bassoon of the Wichita Symphony and Second Bassoon in the Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and the Virginia Symphony.

Ms. Kuster taught at Wichita State University and was a member of the Lieurance Woodwind Quintet for eight years-she is featured on their most recent CD, Music from the Americas (Summit). She spent six summer seasons performing with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Spoleto, Italy and can be heard on the Chandos Label playing Principal Bassoon on Gian Carlo Menotti's operas The Consul and The Saint of Bleeker Street; two CDs of Gian Carlo Menotti's orchestral, vocal and instrumental works; and Prokofiev's War and Peace. She has participated in numerous summer festivals, including Anchorage Music Festival; New Hampshire Music Festival; Ameropa Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic; Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop in Arcata, CA; and the Marrowstone Festival in Bellingham, WA.

Her solo appearances with orchestra include multiple-city tours of Kazakhstan, televised performances in Italy and Panama, and numerous performances in the United States. She is the winner of the 1995 Chicago Musicians Club of Women's Solo Competition Farwell Award, which she won while a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago studying with the late Bruce Grainger, Assistant Principal Bassoon of the Chicago Symphony. She is a double degree graduate from Oberlin College and Conservatory and a student of George Sakakeeny. She taught at Oberlin as a sabbatical replacement for him in Fall 2002.

Ms. Kuster began her musical studies as the daughter of musically minded missionaries, growing up in Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

For more about Ms. Kuster's recent activities and upcoming performances, see her blog at or e-mail her at