Jeffery Cotton

Jeffery Cotton

JEFFERY COTTON WAS THE FIRST COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCE of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble from 1992 through 1996, during which time he created Second Helpings, a “hosted” series of contemporary chamber music performances in the galleries of the Guggenheim Museum SoHo. The series, hailed by the New York Times as “something truly different”, con­tinues to this day. He was also composer-in-residence with the Boston-based Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra from 1999 through 2003. His first new work for Metamorphosen, Lyra, was praised by the Boston Globe as “a gentle, confessional hymn to music of great beauty.”

A native of Los Angeles, Cotton began his musical studies at California State Univer­sity at Northridge, where he studied clarinet with Charles Bay and composition with Frank Campo and Daniel Kessner. In 1983 Cotton received a Fulbright Scholarship to con­duct a two-year course of study with Hans Werner Henze at the Academy of Music in Cologne, Germany. During this time Cotton traveled extensively with Henze, attending among other events the Santa Fe Opera and the Edinburgh Festival, where Henze conducted the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the premiere of Cotton’sAbendland. Returning to the United States in 1985, Cotton then studied with George Crumb, Jay Reise, Chinary Ung and Richard Wernick at the Univer­sity of Pennsylvania as an Annenberg Fellow, receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. in 1989.

In 1990 Jeffery Cotton returned to Germany as a Guggenheim Fellow, and lived in Berlin during the German Reunification. During this time he began composing his ballet Pyramus and Thisbe (a work which was premiered some twelve years later in an orchestral suite version, April 2002). In 1991 he returned to the United States, settled in New York and began his long and productive relationship with St. Luke's. He composed the Quartet for Low StringsTrioFive Runic Songs andLydian Sonata for the ensemble.

In 1995 a Meet the Composer/Reader's Digest consortium comprised of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra commissioned Jeffery Cotton to compose CityMusic for narrator and orchestra, a theater piece for young audiences. The Cleveland Plain Dealer describes the work as “an affectionate and humorous urban tone painting.” The work was premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra in October 1995, and has sub­sequently been performed over a dozen times by the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Louis Sym­phony, the Detroit Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony.

It was in March of 1999 that Metamorphosen and soloist Alexis Pia Gerlach, under music director Scott Yoo, offered the world premiere of Cotton's Serenade (1993) for cello and chamber orchestra, prior to naming him composer-in-residence. The Boston Globe says the Serenade is “all at once luscious and logical, elegantly orchestrated with some super fire-and-ice wind chording.”

Jeffery Cotton has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including most recently the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Camargo Foundation Fellowship for a five-month residency at the Foundation’s facilities in Cassis, France; a grant from the Fromm Foundation for a new trumpet concerto for Jeffrey Curnow, associate principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra; the 2003 Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship to work at the Liguria Study Center in Bogliasco, Italy; and the 2002 Aaron Copland Prize for a two-month residency at Aaron Copland’s home in New York. Cotton was also a featured composer on the Tage für Neue Musik 2003 in Darmstadt, Germany. Recent projects include a new string quartet for the Cypress String Quartet in San Francisco and a new work for violin and percussion for the 2005 Tucson Chamber Music Festival.

Recent works include Four Departures, a trio for flute, viola and harp, commissioned by the Seattle Chamber Music Festival; Flights of Fancy, a brief overture for orchestra for the Tucson Symphony; Meditation, Rhapsody, and Bacchanal, a duo for violin and percussion for the Tucson Chamber Music Festival. He will be writing his second string quartet for the Cypress Quartet in San Francisco for the 2010-2011 season.

Jeffery is an experienced speaker about music, having presented pre-concert lectures for four years while with the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, four years with St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, and most recently to over two thousand school children (K through 12) over a two-week period while touring with the Cypress String Quartet. He is also president and founder of Wired Musician, Inc., a website design and hosting firm specializing in the needs of the professional musician.

Commission Information

CityMusic I: Berlin
Commissioned for: 

Related Concert

February 28, 1988