Gustavus Presents Jazz Pianist Matt Cooper in Residence

Posted on April 21st, 2012 by

Pianist Matt Cooper, Guest Artist

Pianist Matt Cooper, Guest Artist

The Department of Music at Gustavus Adolphus College is pleased to bring internationally acclaimed jazz and classical pianist Matt Cooper to the campus for an artist’s residency, April 21-22. Dr. Cooper’s residency includes performances with the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band and the Adolphus Jazz Ensemble at 7:30 p.m., April 21, a Music Colloquium lecture at 5:00 p.m. and a guest recital at 7:30 p.m. on April 22. All three events are free and open to the public.

Matt Cooper earned his D.M.A. in Piano Performance and Literature, with a Cognate Area in Jazz Studies, from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati in 1994. His doctoral thesis, “Duke Ellington: The Pianist,” is due to be published this spring by the College Music Society as part of its Monographs and Bibiliographies in American Music series. Active as a jazz as well as classical pianist, he won third place prizes in the 1988 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition and the 1988 Great American Jazz Piano Competition. As a jazz pianist, he has toured with Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd and performed with Eddie Harris, Nancy King, Clark Terry, Howard Levy, Jamey Aebsersold, Les Elgart, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, among others. He has visited Russia three times to perform jazz and classical concerts (sometimes combined) in major concert halls of several of the largest cities of the Far East region. He recorded an album of jazz sextet originals titled Clovis, featuring bassist Glen Moore of the renowned jazz group “Oregon.” One track from this album won a JPF Music Award for being one of the top three in the category of “Best Jazz Instrumental Song” in 2009.

As a classical pianist, Dr. Cooper has performed concerto appearances with several orchestras of the Inland Northwest and with the Russian chamber orchestra Gloria. He has appeared throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho both as a solo and collaborative artist, including many festivals and recital series (International Festival of Creative Pianists, Piano Duet Festival by the Sea), appearances at Oregon and Washington State Music Teachers conferences, and concerts with his own Columbia Trio. His piano duet performances with Beth Tomassetti have been heard on Northwest Public Radio, on two concert tours throughout Oregon, and on compact disc. He also traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2007 to attend a two-week Intensive Seminar in Argentine Tango Music. A frequent adjudicator for MTNA-affiliated events throughout the Northwest, he has taught at Eastern Oregon University since 1991.

As part of his residency on campus, Dr. Cooper will work with the jazz ensembles in rehearsals and will perform with them in Saturday’s jazz concert at 7:30 p.m. in Björling Recital Hall. Sunday’s colloquium lecture will also be presented in Björling with a starting time set for 5:00 p.m., followed by his solo recital at 7:30 p.m. For the recital, Cooper has selected works from both the standard and jazz repertoire for piano. The list of compositions includes works by J.S. Bach, Debussy, Poulenc, Fauré, Ellington, Piazzolla, Monk, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Rodgers & Hart, Wolf & Landesman, DePaul, Johnston & Raye.

This artist in residence project is sponsored by the Department of Music’s Colloquium Series and the Johnson Endowment for the Arts. Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. jazz concert featuring pianist Matt Cooper with the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band and the Adolphus Jazz Ensemble, the Colloquium Lecture at 5:00 and the solo recital at 7:30 on Sunday are free and open to the public.


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