Cooper Ottum, composer
Cooper Ottum (b. 1990) is a composer from Beaverton, Oregon. Captured by music as a practice and an art form as a high school student, he began writing music as a way to understand the perspectives of different musicians that were, then, his teachers and colleagues. As a student at the University of Southern California, he continued to study composition under Donald Crockett, Frank Ticheli, and Stephen Hartke, and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Composition degree in 2012. Cooper now studies composition at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, under James Mobberley.
As a composer, Cooper is primarily interested in capturing emotional subtlety, and in approaching music as a distinctly human art form.
Cooper has worked with Hillsboro Parks and Recreation, the Century High School Marching Band, and the Liberty High School Marching Band to make compositions and arrangements that enrich youth music education programs. His work for marching ensembles is available for viewing at Music for Use.
A selection of works, some including program notes and sample recordings.
A flutter of modest aspiration
text by Genevieve Kaplan
for Guitar and Soprano, 2012, revised 2013
Listen (2012 version):
- Alissa Corrao, Soprano
- Jesse Freedman, Guitar
(live recording; Jeanette MacDonald Recital Hall, USC University Park Campus, Los Angeles, CA)
for B-flat Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, and Trombone, 2012
Lean Back is a playful theme and set of variations that presents my (admittedly bizarre) interpretation of jazz for three winds.
There's something about the way music (and especially jazz) interacts with time that creates a weird sense of inevitability. Like, there's a pretty good chance that the thing you heard a second ago will happen again. But you don't know when, or how, or from which instrument, or within which context.
This piece takes the above idea and tries to make it fun.
Introduction and Theme
Clarinet Quartet "among friends"
for four B-flat Clarinets, 2009
My musical upbringing was, in many ways, my social upbringing as well, and I think that I’m not alone in that regard. My wish is for this piece to be “about” having fun with musically inclined friends though performance. The audience can judge if the music is enjoyable to hear as well (I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out of the experience).
This work is dedicated to my former clarinet teacher and mentor Rich Briglia, who suggested the creation of this piece and unfortunately passed away in Fall of 2009. Rich was a very fine player with a passion for youth music education as well as the regional and global musical community. The music I wrote here is not about him, but it was written as something I feel he would have enjoyed playing.
II. Dance With Traveling Ostinato
- Joe Morris, B-flat Clarinet 1
- Brad Whitfield, B-flat Clarinet 2
- Carmen Rizzo, B-flat Clarinet 3, Bass Clarinet
- Ben Davis, B-flat Clarinet 4, Bass Clarinet
A Learning Experience
for mixed quartet, 2009
- Michael Matsuno, Flute
- Leah Schwartz, B-flat Clarinet
- Dustin Frieda, Viola
- Peter Meyers, Violoncello