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.
As a composer, Cooper is primarily interested in capturing emotional subtlety, and in approaching music as a distinctly human art form.
Cooper now balances his time between teaching and composing opportunities in Oregon, working with Hillsboro Parks and Recreation as well as the Century High School Marching Band, to make compositions and arrangements that enrich the music education of young people. He hopes to soon further his composition studies as a graduate student, and will continue to seek out opportunities to serve his community by advocating for music and music education.
A selection of works.
A flutter of modest aspiration
text by Genevieve Kaplan
for Guitar and Soprano, 2012
- 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.
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
- no inland far enough (text: Christopher Santiago, Tenor and Piano)
- Prelude and Fugue (Mixed Sextet)
- There has been a storm (text: Genevieve Kaplan, Soprano and Piano)
- Lean Back (Wind Trio)
- A flutter of modest aspiration (text: Genevieve Kaplan, Soprano and Guitar, in progress)
- Connection (arranged and composed, Marching Band)
- Student Counsel (film score, various instrumentations)
- A House On... (text: Cole Ottum, recorded songs, various instrumentation)
- dichotomy (arranged and composed, Marching Band)
- First Day (film score, Piano)
- Clarinet Quartet "among friends"
- A Learning Experience (Mixed Quartet)
- Rock Show of the Century (arranged and composed, Marching Band)
- Shading Gray (film score, String Quartet)
- The Labrador Variations (Piano)
- Visited (text: Emily Dickinson, Soprano and Mixed Quartet)
- Three Pieces for an Emotional Flautist
- Symmetrical Music (Horn and Piano)
- Conception (Wind Ensemble)
- Short Piece for Two Clarinets
- The Smoothie (Jazz Combo)