Kurt Rasmussen (Cirque du Soleil)
Born and raised in East Los Angeles Kurt Rasmussen has for many years been in great demand with musicians and producers from many different genres. His numerous CD projects include "Amigos," a compilation of duets by Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias, Juan Gabriel, Jose Jose, Celine Dion, Tom Jones, Patty Labelle, and Barry Gibb. A Featured soloist on Steve Allen´s "Fast Cars and Fascinating Women" ,Debbie Yeager´s "Mood Swings" and vocalist Barbara Morrison´s runaway hit album "I´m Gettin´ ´Long Alright.".
Experienced in percussion techniques from around the world he can also be heard playing percussion and Bodhran on the much-acclaimed debut CD by The Young Dubliners. Kurt has been a part of the Latin and Brazilian scene in Los Angeles for years. Performing with Los Angeles based Latin artists like Poncho Sanchez, Fred Ramirez and Bobby Redfield. On the Brazilian side performing with L.A. Samba, Katia Moraes, Moacir Santos and Kleber Jorge. Contemporary artists include pop legends Donovon and Bill Medley. His jazz credits include John Klemmer, Bill Cunliffe and Tom Kubis. These are just a sampling of the artists Kurt has had the pleasure of performing with.
At one time Kurt was the percussionist for Paul Anka and toured with him worldwide for ten years. He also feels honored to have had the opportunity to perform several times with Quincy Jones along with Kenny G. - including playing in Quincy´s big band at the star-studded Frank Sinatra Memorial Benefit Concert.
ut now, suddenly, after a lifetime of touring and performing with Sergio Mendes, David Foster, Tania Maria, Diane Schuur, Marilyn McCoo and others - Kurt has run away to join the circus. The circus! Cirque du Soleil, that is. Kurt joined in 1999 and moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. He is the percussionist for "O" by Cirque du Soleil for over ten years now. The original score, composed for "O" by Benoit Jutras, lets Kurt use the entire range of his experience with Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Middle Eastern, and "legit" percussion techniques. The percussion setup for "O" is tremendous! A virtual warehouse packed full of drums from every corner of the world, percussion instruments of every description and all the bells and whistles.
Although busy with Cirque du Soleil, Kurt finds time to keep up his Los Angeles recording career. He continues to add to his long list of recording credits, which includes a myriad of projects for film and television, like the award-winning IMAX film "Everest" with ex-Beattle George Harrison. Among his newest projects are recording for Disneyland´s theme park "California Adventure", Universal Studio Tours and most recently The World of WarCraft, "Wrath of the Lich King".
Kurt´s recently released CD projects include the debut album, "Baila," also featuring Jonathan Moffet on drums, Pianist Alex Clements "Between Stops" and the long-anticipated CD by piano whiz Quinn Johnson.
For years Kurt has been traveling to Brazil to perform with his Escola de Samba VAI-VAI. He is the only "Gringo" to have been accepted into the Escola, and he has become a four time champion winning in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001, becoming a four-time carnaval champion.
Kurt started teaching percussion and The University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2004. He heads up the world percussion dept. and is director of the UNLV Brazilian Percussion Ensemble "Mocidade Rebelde" (Rebellious Youth). In 2010 Kurt won the Outstanding Teaching by Adjunct Faculty Award.