composer, performer, teacher
Elliot Cole (*1984) is a composer and "charismatic contemporary bard" (NY Times) who writes “music of endless discovery” (A Closer Listen). He has written for and performed with Grammy Winners Roomful of Teeth, Grammy Nominees A Far Cry and Metropolis Ensemble, and many other ensembles. His percussion music evokes "sparkling icicles of sound" (Rolling Stone) and has been performed by over 250 groups all over the world. Dr. Cole teaches at The New School, Juilliard, and NYU (ITP). Passionate about music education in prisons, he runs a Musicambia music school at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, and has led workshops at other facilities around the country. He has a PhD in Music Composition from Princeton University. In addition to work in modern, early, electronic, and computer music, he studies Hindustani singing with Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan.
Elliot Cole (*1984) is a composer, performer and "charismatic contemporary bard" (NY Times), whose music evokes “sparkling icicles of sound” (Rolling Stone). Working with GRAMMY winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, he scored the breakthrough VR experience Evolver Prologue (dir. Terrence Malick), alongside Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead), which previewed at Cannes in 2021. He has also written for and performed with GRAMMY nominees A Far Cry and Metropolis Ensemble, cellist Gabriel Cabezas (Paul Simon), acclaimed pianists Conor Hanick and David Kaplan, FLUX Quartet, Projeto Arcomusical, and many other groups.
His compositions have been particularly embraced by percussionists. His Postludes for bowed vibraphone quartet has become a new classic, having been performed by over 250 ensembles, including leading professional groups Amadinda, So Percussion, and Blow Up Roma, as well as student ensembles at nearly all US conservatories. His series of pieces for flowerpots has turned into another international tradition: every June 21st, people organize community performances of Flowerpot Music (Make Music Day Book). In 2021, over 450 people performed the work in parks in over 30 cities.
Cole also has a deep interest in early music. He reads and teaches 14th century mensural notation, and led a weekly singing study group of that music in Brooklyn for several years. He has frequently collaborated with the medieval ensemble Alkemie, and composed for them an evening-length Death of Arthur. He has written motets for Gallicantus, one of Britain’s leading Renaissance ensembles, and the viol consort Sonnambula. He has performed the 13th century Galician Cantigas de amigo, singing and playing guitar, bass and harmonium, and regularly joins the medieval-synth group Freelance Nun.
Creative technology is another major area of interest. His Princeton PhD dissertation Composing with Blooms explores a blended serial/aleatoric approach to computer aided composition. In 2017 he was invited to give a Google Talk about his work in coding and music. He designed and coded Movements, a VR gestural instrument, for the Currents new media festival in Santa Fe in 2018. He produces electronic music with analog and modular synthesizers, and has worked variously as a producer, mixing engineer, video editor, and animator. He runs the publishing house and record label Long Echo Music.
Hindustani Classical Music has been a major focus for Cole in recent years. He studies singing intensively with Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. As a keyboardist and producer he regularly collaborates with Michael Harrison, Dhrupad singer Ina Filip, and composer Benoît Rolland. Together they created Passage, a 9-hour raga cycle installation for the Turchin Center for the Arts in Boone, North Carolina, which exhibited for six months in 2023. He is also an aisstant teacher in Harrison’s raga classes, and an accompanist for Mir Naqibul Islam (tabla).
He is a member of the book-club-band Oracle Hysterical, who have written genre-bending, literature-inspired works for over a decade. They created evening-length shows for the Lucerne Festival (Billy Budd), MATA Festival (The Rake), and National Sawdust (Grimm’s Tales). Most recently, they wrote The Sea to perform with the string orchestra A Far Cry, and Terra Nova, a show about exploration, for Hub New Music, commissioned by the Peabody Essex Museum and the Five Boroughs Music Festival. They have released two commercial recordings: Passionate Pilgrim and Hecuba.
Dr. Cole is also a devoted teacher. He is on faculty at Juilliard Extension, where he teaches advanced composition and music production, and at The New School, where he has taught Ableton, SuperCollider, and mentors graduate students in the Performer-Composer program. Previously, he taught graduate-level 20th century music history at the Manhattan School of Music, theory at Ramapo College, and ear training and counterpoint at Princeton. He also helped found Musicambia, a non-profit organization that creates music education opportunities for incarcerated people. He has been Musicambia's Program Director at Sing Sing Correctional Facility since 2016, and has led songwriting workshops at facilities in South Carolina, Indiana, and Kansas.
He grew up in Austin, Texas, and now lives in Queens, New York.