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K-State Today

March 22, 2019

Professor of music Cora Cooper presents at Boulanger Initiative Launch Festival

Submitted by Blakely Bunning

Cora Cooper, K-State professor of violin and viola, presented at the Boulanger Initiative Launch Festival, hosted March 8-10 in Washington, D.C.

The Boulanger Initiative is a new nonprofit advocacy group for women musicians. Its national launch festival took place over three days, beginning on March 8, International Women's Day.

Cooper's presentation, "Directing the Canon: Women Composers and the Violin and Viola Studio," was selected to be part of the celebration. She was joined by D.C.-area teachers Claire Allen, violin, and Dana Rokosny, viola, and some of their students, who performed selections from Cooper's graded anthologies "Violin Music by Women" and "Viola Music by Women."

In addition to the performances, Cooper addressed the need for incorporating music by women composers into teaching repertoire. Cooper shared in her address that most upper string students, whether following the traditional canon or the Suzuki method, complete their education through the collegiate level without ever having played music by a woman composer. The message this teaches to young women and men is both subliminally devastating and readily apparent — men are composers, not women. Cooper's address further advocates the path to equality needs to start at the earliest stages of training, and the music chosen to teach in studios can be a force for change.

The festival included main-stage evening performances by artists Jennifer Koh, violin, with Missy Mazzoli, composer/keyboard/electronics, and the 2019 Grammy-nominated Aizuri Quartet. The final event was a concert by Washington Women in Jazz and Arco Belo, with special guest Clarice Assad.

Faculty in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance have received Grammy awards and nominations, and Emmy Awards; produced recordings on international and national CD labels; published books and journal articles with international and national publishing houses and professional organizations; and performed and presented research in every continent in the world, except Antarctica. The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance is a part of the College of Arts and Sciences. Visit k-state.edu/mtd to learn more about music, theatre and dance at K-State.