Meet Our New Musician: Andrew Leslie Cooper
Andrew has written this note to St. Matt's to introduce himself:
I'm absolutely delighted to have been appointed as your new Director of Music Ministries and Organist. St Matt's strikes me as an incredible place: a friendly, supportive community that strongly values its music ministry. I am truly excited to make music with you. My central hope is that our music-making together will enrich all of our lives in a deep, lasting way—in worship, in education and in fellowship.
Up to this point, I have been enjoying a rather varied career in my native UK as a freelance countertenor, conductor, keyboardist and music educator. I have been a permanent member of the acclaimed early-music ensemble The Gesualdo Six and the Choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace. I have also sung in Tenebrae, Gallicantus, Ensemble Odhecaton as well as several performances with Voces8 and Academy of Ancient Music. Also quite busy as a teacher, I have been on the music staff at King's School Rochester—the second oldest school in the world—and The Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls in east London.
The pandemic has had a profound impact on my life and was a significant catalyst in my present career shift. I spent a large portion of my time in lockdown creating virtual performances of some of my favourite pieces of music. A couple of them, namely Pearsall's Lay a garland and Purcell's Sound the trumpet went, dare I say, viral online and sparked an online following on social media. These efforts culminated with my recording of Tallis' mammoth 40-part motet Spem in alium, which I produced in 360° virtual reality.
Previously, I directed the music programmes at two parish churches, first in Berea, Ohio and later in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. My primary role in these posts was to direct the volunteer adult choirs, however I also regularly worked with professional musicians and handbell ringers and I often played the organ for worship. At St Matt's, I hope to build on these experiences to grow a thriving, inclusive and wide-reaching music ministry.
I earned my Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College, where I was the Graduate Assistant Conductor of the flagship ensemble, Westminster Choir. My Bachelor of Music is from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, where I was the conducting apprentice for the Motet Choir and Bach Festival. You can find out more about me or watch some of my recordings at www.AndrewLeslieCooper.com.
I will be moving to Fairfield County in June and will be bringing with me my two adorable cats Archie and Maxie. When we meet, I can't promise I will remember your name straight away, but I'm sure I would like to get to know you! Please do come and say hello.