Emily Cooley

Emily CooleyEmily Cooley (b. 1990) is a composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music that ranges from delicate intensity to a pulsing, energetic sound described as “dramatic, forceful and filled with reverberation” (Sioux City Journal). In 2015, Emily was awarded a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her music has received additional awards and recognition from the National Federation of Music Clubs, Tribeca New Music, ASCAP, the Renée B. Fisher Foundation, and others.

Emily has received commissions and performances from ensembles including the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, the JACK Quartet, the Fifth House Ensemble, and Music from Copland House. She has been a fellow at the Norfolk New Music Workshop, the Wellesley Composers Conference, CULTIVATE at Copland House, and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

A native of Milwaukee, WI, Emily is a recent graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music and Yale University, where she was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize for excellence in the creative arts. Past teachers include Stephen Hartke, Donald Crockett, Andrew Norman, Kathryn Alexander, and John K. Boyle. Emily currently holds the Milton L. Rock Composition Fellowship at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studies with David Ludwig.

 Now is the Time (excerpt):


In the Composer’s Own Words:
Lately I’ve become interested in writing pieces that consist of only one section, usually in the form of a long, slow build of density and variety in sound. This piece takes that model: there are no delineated sections and no transitions, just the goal of reaching the ending and revealing the core of this music’s material. Different layers weave in and out of the orchestral texture, with the clarinets leading the more lyrical nature of the piece, the percussionist activating a sound ‘object’ that acts as an on/off switch for certain musical events, and the piano and second violins playing out a ritualistic pattern of bell-like chords.

One of the inspirations for this piece is the work of California artist Andres Amador, whose sand murals flourish into massive and stunning images, but are inevitably washed away by the ocean.