Cindy Cox

Cindy Cox

Fellow: Awarded 2017
Field of Study: Music Composition

Competition: US & Canada

Transparent yet complex, both radical and traditional, Cindy Cox’s compositions synthesize old and new musical designs through linked strands of association, timbral fluctuation, and cyclic temporal processes. The natural world, ecological processes, and the concept of emergence inspire many of the special harmonies and textural colorations in her compositions.

Cox is active as a pianist and has performed and recorded her Sylvan pieces, Hierosgamos: Seven Studies in Harmony and Resonance, and The Blackbird whistling/Or just after. Her works with text such as Singing the lines, The Other Side of the World, and Hysteria evolved through collaboration with her husband, poet John Campion. Many of Cox’s works feature technologies developed at UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), such as Pianos, a large scale work for keyboard sampler/piano, large ensemble and live electronics recently premiered by Gloria Cheng and the Eco Ensemble.

She has received awards and commissions from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the Mellon Foundation, and the Gemeinschaft der Kunstlerinnen und Kunstfreunde International Competition for Women Composers. She has been a Fellow at the Tanglewood and Aspen Festivals, the MacDowell Colony, and the Civitella Ranieri and William Walton Foundations in Italy. In fall 2017, she will be appointed to a Fulbright Senior Professorship in American Culture in The Netherlands, hosted by the Amsterdam Conservatory and the Utrecht School for the Arts.

Recent performances have taken place at Roulette in New York City (Hishuk ish ts’awalk), the Venice Biennale (Pianos), the Festival de la Habana in Cuba, (Wave), the Center for New Music in San Francisco (La Cigüeña and Mallets) the American Academy in Rome (Four Studies of Light and Dark), Carnegie and Merkin Halls in New York City (Hierosgamos and The blackbird whistling), the National Gallery in Washington (Hierosgamos), the Library of Congress (Into the Wild), the Kennedy Center (Cathedral Spires), the Biblioteca National in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Transfigurations of Grief), and on the Los Angeles Philharmonic series (Primary Colors). Her music has been performed by notable ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet, the National Symphony, the California Symphony, the Alexander Quartet, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Eco Ensemble, and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. Notable interpreters include David Milnes, Gloria Cheng, Lucy Shelton, Oni Buchanan, Ann Yi, Laura Carmichael, Sooyeon Lyuh, and Jenny Q. Chai.

There are five monograph recordings of Cox’s music, and her scores are published by World a Tuning Fork Press. A recording of Cox’s complete string quartets by the Alexander Quartet was released in October 2015 on the Naxos label to critical acclaim, and her most recent recording of piano music, Hierosgamos, was released in January 2017 by ArpaViva recordings and features performances by Oni Buchanan, Jenny Q. Chai, and Piotr Tomasz. Her music may also be accessed on Soundcloud and YouTube.

Cox studied composition with Harvey Sollberger, Donald Erb, Eugene O’Brien, and John Eaton at Indiana University, with additional studies at Tanglewood with John Harbison, and at Aspen with Bernard Rands and Jacob Druckman. As a pianist she studied with the famed Mozart and Schubert specialist Lili Kraus. Cindy Cox is presently a Professor and Chair of the Music Department at the University of California at Berkeley.

Listen to a recording by the Alexander Quartet of Cindy Cox’s string quartet Patagón (2011)

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