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    Kujala, Steve

    Composer and multi-reed musician whose father Walfrid played piccolo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and taught at Northwestern University.  Steve attended the Eastman School of Music and New Trier West High School and won the best jazz flute award at the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival. 

     

    He and five of his Eastman classmates formed a jazz-rock fusion band named Auracle and they won a battle-of-the-bands concert sponsored by CBS Records, where they were invited to record an album of demo material.  They headed west and parlayed their CBS demo into a deal with the fledgling Chrysalis label, the brainchild of one of Steve’s heroes, flautist Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. 

     

    Steve caught the ear of Chick Corea and was asked to become a member of Chick’s touring band.  They went on four international tours and recorded four albums, including Again and Again, Septet, Touchstone, and Voyage.

     

    Other albums on which Steve appears include:  Brazil by Rosemary Clooney; The Christmas Album by David Foster; The Christmas Album by The Manhattan Transfer; The Crossing by Paul Young; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by k.d. lang; Great Big Boy by Leo Kottke; Homage to Duke by David Grusin; Joy!  Joy!  Joy!  Celebrating Christmas with Kim Robertson; Manilow Sings Sinatra; Painted From Memory by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello; Red Metal by Alan Vizzutti; Unforgettable:  With Love by Natalie Cole; and, Wes Bound by Lee Ritenour.

     

    He is purported to have performed on more than 600 soundtracks, and here is but a handful of highlights:  American Beauty, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Cats and Dogs, The Dead Pool, Finding Nemo, Galapagos, The Horse Whisperer, Joy Ride, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Oscar and Lucinda, Pay it Forward, Rush Hour 2, The Salton Sea, Toy Story III, Unstrung Heroes, and Wall-E.

     

    Sometimes it is not his flute but voice that is heard, as Robotruck in Solar Crisis, on a Taco Bell commercial, and on a station identification for Radio Tokyo.

     

    Steve has also been in the orchestra pit for productions of The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, and Wicked.

     

    As a composer and solo artist, he has released several albums, such as The Arms of Love, Fresh Flute, Heads Hands Hearts, and Steve Kujala II.  His original compositions have punny titles like “Floute 66”, “Hi F’lutin”, and “Tutti Flutti”.

     

    “Family and Friends” has been used by Lexus as part of its December to Remember ad campaign since 1999.  “Piccolo Pops” was performed by his father and immortalized on videotape on 11th November 2001.  Eurythmionics” was featured at the second bi-annual International Piccolo Symposium at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in June 2009 and the Kentucky Flute Festival in 2012. 

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.fretlessflute.com/bio.php
    2. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/steve-kujala-p6920/credits
    3. http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/index.php/Painted_From_Memory
    4. http://www.daedalusbooks.com/Products/Detail.asp?ProductID=78139&Media=music&SubCategoryID=2200&ReturnUrl=%2FProducts%2FCategoryMain.asp%3FMedia%3Dmusic%26MajorCategoryID%3D38
    5. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/6794146/a/Lemony+Snicket%27s+A+Series+of+Unfortunate+Events.htm
    6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_JGruHKrLA
    7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lz_1E1owFP8
    8. http://www.fskentucky.org/Festival/2012/2012%20FSK%20Competition%20Repertoire.pdf
    9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CP6Y3iw53o
    10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcZu69si-0g
    11. http://www.walfridkujala.com/content_about_wk.html
    12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cATFk3J7aVo
    13. http://familyandfriendssong.com/?page_id=2

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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