Dr. Kevin Cooper conducts a guitar ensemble Fresno City College. image via fresnocitycollege.edu

published on December 10, 2021 - 2:01 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A Fresno City College music instructor can now list a rare accomplishment on his curriculum vitae — GRAMMY nominee.

Dr. Kevin Cooper is a member of the chamber music group Agave Baroque, who along with Reginald L. Mobley, are GRAMMY nominees for their recording, “American Originals: A New World, A New Canon” in the Best Classical Compendium category. They will know if they win on Jan. 31, 2022, when the 64th GRAMMY Awards are announced in Los Angeles.

Cooper, who teaches guitar at Fresno City College, is a founding member of Agave Baroque, an instrumental group that performs centuries-old chamber music. He says that he and his wife are thrilled to be nominated and are looking forward to attending the ceremony.

“I really can’t believe we earned the nomination. I knew it was a deserving project with outstanding musicians but figured the odds were against us. We are thrilled to share this incredible music of Black and Brown Americans with people. It’s an honor to be a part of it,” he said.

“American Originals: A New World, A New Canon” celebrates four centuries of extraordinary music by Black and Brown composers from North and South America. Released in September, the recording is interwoven with the arresting songs of Florence Price, baroque music of Esteban Salas (Cuba) and Manuel Zumaya (Mexico). It also includes music by Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia (Brazil), and the Americans Justin Holland and Scott Joplin.

The recording has been getting good international press including praise for Cooper’s contribution by Gramophone magazine.

“…Kevin Cooper excels in a Fernando Sor-ish set of variations by the 19th-century American guitarist Justin Holland….”

Cooper has been a full-time instructor at Fresno City College since 2009. He teaches all levels of guitar. He is a classical and baroque guitarist with an affinity for the extremes of modern and early music. He performs regularly as a soloist and with Agave Baroque and Ensemble Mirable. Other recordings include a Night of Four Moons, a CD of modern music for voice and guitar with mezzo-soprano Catherine Cooper, his wife. In 2006, he was honored as the Outstanding Doctoral Graduate in music from the University of Southern California.

Download and stream the recording and hear samples of Cooper’s performance at agave.hearnow.com.

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