(A short biography, suitable for printing in concert programs, is available from the homepage of this site. Click here for web- and print-ready publicity photos.)
Carson Cooman (b. 1982; Rochester, New York) is an American composer with a catalog of hundreds of works in many forms—from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes. His music has been performed on all six inhabited continents in venues that range from the stage of Carnegie Hall to the basket of a hot air balloon. Cooman’s music appears on over forty recordings, including more than twenty complete CDs on on the Naxos, Albany, Artek, Gothic, Divine Art, Métier, Convivium, Altarus, MSR Classics, Raven, and Zimbel labels.
“[a composer] writing big pieces that sound terrific” — American Record Guide
“…a shining new example of what is often described as ‘serious art music’ that is expected to challenge and inspire both listeners and performers alike.” — The Horn Call
” …composer of extraordinary energy and fecundity of imagination” — Records International
” …music of great interest, contrast, intellectual stimulation, and depth. This is music well worth knowing.” —The American Organist
“Cooman has something to say, an engaging voice to do so, and real musical chops.” — Fanfare Magazine
“…his music, which is a vivid combination of inspired mellifluousness, emotional excitement, and creative expressiveness.” — MusicWeb
“…adept at incorporating contemporary techniques to richly expressive ends” — All Music
“I was quite impressed by the music of Carson Cooman two years ago…now I am more than impressed—enthralled is more like it. … His works spin out seemingly endless tapestries of beautiful melodies and ideas.” — American Record Guide
“passionate and attractive” — Charleston Post and Courier
“an ardent communicator” — Leonard Link: Reporting and Commentary
Cooman has also been the recipient of numerous commissions from performers, ensembles, orchestras, and organizations. Organizations who have commissioned works from or premiered works by Cooman include the American Guild of Organists, the Aspen Music Festival, the Association of Anglican Musicians, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, Choral Arts New England, The Commission Project, Composers Concordance, Dance Rochester, the Great Lakes Arts Festival, Harvard University, the Hochstein Music School, the International Contrabassoon Festival, the International Tuba/Euphonium Conference, Kilgore College, King’s Chapel, Lakehead University, the Laubach Organ Festival, the Living Music Foundation, Meet the Composer, Music Premieres of the Season (Kyiv), New Directions, the New York State Council for the Arts and Culture, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Richner-Strong Institute of Church Music, the Royal School of Church Music in America, University of the South, WHRB Radio, and the World Saxophone Congress.
Ensembles and orchestras include Albany Pro Musica, the Arcadian Winds, AUROS Group for New Music, the Austin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Aradia Duet, the Bach Society Orchestra, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, the Callithumpian Consort, the Corona Guitar Kvartet, the Chicago Brass Choir, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Czech Radio Symphony, Duo46, Duo Ahlert and Schwab, Duo Majoya, Ensemble Decadanse, the Equinox Symphony Orchestra, the Ferla-Marcinizyn Guitar Duo, Fireworks, the Gough Duo, the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, the Harvard University Choir, the Heim Duo, hrCME, the Irondequoit Chorale, the Kiev Philharmonic, the Knox-Galesburg Symphony, the LAGO Flute Quartet, the London Chamber Group, the London Mozart Players, Madrigalia, the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Non Sequitur, the Orenunn Trio, the Penfield Symphony Trio, the Radcliffe Choral Society, Rhythm and Brass, the River City Brass Band, the Rosetta Trio, the Serafino Trio, the Serenade Chamber Orchestra, the Singing Girls of Texas, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Mandolins, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Tubalaté, the Varna (Bulgaria) Philharmonic Orchestra, the William Baker Festival Singers, and the Zwiebel Quartet.
Solo performers include pianists Donna Amato, Peter Blauvelt, Stephen Drury, Jeffrey Jacob, Keith Kirchoff,Nathanael May, Moyuru Maeda, Walter Morales, Judith Olson, Gordon Rumson, Nora Skuta, Kathleen Supové, and Stephen Truelove, organists Paul Ayres, Pamela Decker, Emma Lou Diemer, Peter DuBois, Alfred V. Fedak, Marnie Giesbrecht, Nancy Granert, Harry Lyn Huff, Andrew Paul Holman, Daniel Pinkham, and Murray Forbes Somerville, harpsichordist Ewa Gabrys, violinists Sabrina Berger, Curtis Macomber, Robert Mealy,Ostap Shutko, and Piotr Szewczyk, cellists Oliver Coates, Craig Hultgren, Olga Kryvtsova, and Lisa Truelove, contrabassists Stephen Gilewski and P. Kellach Waddle, contrabassoonists Jeanne Coonan and Henry Skolnick, guitarists Aaron Larget-Caplan, Herbert Levine, and Karin Schaupp, hornists John Paul Aubrey, Hazel Dean Davis, Andrew Pelletier, and James Sommerville, oboists Toni Marie Marchioni and Tedrow Perkins, flutists Laurel Ann Maurer, Sally Turner, Judith von Hopf, and Dolores Zdancewicz, saxophonists Jay C. Easton, Lara James, Andreas van Zoelen, and Paul Wehage, recorderist John Turner, trumpeters Bruce Briney, Chris Gekker, Michael Stewart, and John Wallace, trombonist Haim Avitsur, euphoniumist Matthew Murchison, tubist Mark Nelson, and conductors Michael Adelson, Denis Colwell, Edward Elwyn Jones, Kevin Leong, Jeff Manookian, Vit Micka, Sean O’Boyle, Daniel Pinkham, Bruce Polay, Michael Shahani, Nancy Petersen Strelau, Paul Stuart, Kirk Trevor, Vladimir Valek, and Robert Ian Winstin.
Cooman has collaborated with a number of noted poets, librettists, and authors including Mary Louise Bringle, John Core, Richard Leach, Elizabeth Kirschner, Randy Northrup, Joyce Carol Oates, Andrew Pratt,Mark Schweizer, Calvin Seerveld, Derek Strahan, John Thornburg, Kathleen Wakefield, Rae E. Whitney, Anna Winslow, and Brian Wren.
Cooman’s musicology studies and writings have focused primarily on contemporary American and Australian composers. He served as editor of Living Music Journal from 2005-09 and is a staff critic for American Recorder and Fanfare magazines. He has edited organ publications for various publishers (including Boosey & Hawkes and Oxford University Press) and has been editorial director for over 300 organ, choral, and hymn publications for Zimbel Press.
Cooman’s principal composition teachers were Bernard Rands, Judith Weir, Alan Fletcher, and James Willey, and he holds degrees from Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University. He has also studied with Leonardo Balada, George Tsontakis, Eric Chasalow, Barry Conyngham, and Elliott Gyger.
He holds the position of Composer in Residence at The Memorial Church, Harvard University. From 2008-11, he also served as Composer in Residence to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, Massachusetts.
Cooman is an active organist who performs frequently, performing the works of contemporary composers. Cooman has actively promoted and supported the ongoing development of new music for organ. Over 150 new compositions for organ have been written for him by composers from around the world. As a performer, Cooman has recorded for ASV, JADE Records, and Zimbel Records.
Cooman is a member of the American Guild of Organists, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and a Life Member of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.