Carson Cooman is a unique figure on the international music scene: he is the exceedingly busy composer of a large and varied output (over 1000 opus numbers and counting!) that includes operas, orchestral, and chamber works and a vast range of smaller instrumental compositions. He is also a concert organist who focuses strictly on contemporary music. In addition, the busy Cooman was the editor of The Living Music Journal and serves as critic for several music review journals. Cooman's rise as a composer has been meteoric: at the turn of the millennium he was a relative unknown, but by 2008 his music had gained international currency, with frequent performance by major orchestras, chamber groups, and instrumental soloists, as well as a discography of more than 30 recordings, including several major releases of piano and sacred music, his Second and Third symphonies and his piano concerto. Cooman's style is fairly approachable, some listeners finding it akin to the tougher side of Copland. Cooman regularly receives commissions in all genres, with a somewhat disproportionate number in the sacred realm. Beside Naxos, Cooman's works are available on Albany Records, Erm Media, and Four-Tay. As a performer he has recorded for ASV, Zimbel Records, and Jade Records.
Carson Cooman was born in Rochester, NY, in 1982. He earned degrees at Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University. Cooman studied composition with Bernard Rands, Judith Weir, Leonardo Balada, and other luminaries.
Even as a student Cooman was drawing attention for his compositions, winning his first ASCAP Standard Award in 1997 and capturing subsequent ones every year since. As a concert organist he has garnered nearly as much success, managing a busy concert schedule and premiering over 150 organ compositions written specifically for him. In 2004 the incredibly prolific Cooman wrote his Symphony No. 2, Op. 574, and followed with his Third Symphony in 2005, Op. 650. Both were recorded, along with his piano concerto and other works, on an acclaimed 2007 Naxos CD.
As suggested earlier, Cooman has written numerous works on commission: in 2007-2008 alone he wrote about 40 compositions on commission, from orchestral and sacred pieces to piano and organ works to chamber and brass band compositions, even one for the guitar. Among the recordings of Cooman's works is the 2008 Naxos CD entitled Carson Cooman: Sacred Choral Music featuring the London University Royal Holloway Choir led by Rupert Gough. ~ Robert Cummings