Cooper, Kenneth , versatile American harpsichordist, pianist, fortepianist, conductor, musicologist, and pedagogue; b. N.Y., May 31, 1941. He studied at N.Y/s H.S. of Music and Art (1954–58), where he received instruction in harpsichord from Fernando Valenti. He then entered Columbia Coll. (B.A., 1962), where his mentors included Jack Beeson, Otto Luening, and Douglas Moore, and pursued his education at Columbia Univ. (M.A., 1964; Ph.D. in musicology, 1971), where he studied with Paul Henry Lang and Denis Stevens. He also studied harpsichord with Sylvia Marlowe at the Marines Coll. of Music (1960–63). On July 6, 1965, he made his London recital debut at Wigmore Hall, followed by his U.S. recital debut at N.Y/s Alice Tully Hall on Feb. 2, 1973. He was an instructor at Barnard Coll. (1967–71) and an adjunct prof. of music at Brooklyn Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y (1971–73). From 1975 to 1984 he was prof. of harpsichord and director of the Collegium Musicum at the Marines Coll. of Music. He appeared as a chamber music artist at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. in Charleston, S.C., from 1979 to 1992, and also at the Grand Canyon Chamber Music Festival from 1985. In 1983 he became artist-in-residence and assoc.-in-performance at Columbia Univ. He also was director of the Baroque Orch. (1984–92) and of the Baroque Aria Ensemble (from 1992) at the Manhattan School of Music, where he also was chairman of the harpsichord dept, a teacher at the Peabody Cons, of Music in Baltimore (1986–90), and founder-director of the Berkshire Bach Ensemble (from 1989). He ed. the anthology Three Centuries of Music in Score (13 vols., 1988–90), prepared editions of Monteverdi’s Tirsi e Clori (1967) and Giardini’s “Billiard” Sonata (1998), and made reconstructions of several works. As both a performer and scholar, his interests range from early music to contemporary scores.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire