Timothy Cooper is not only an acclaimed solo pianist, but also an advocate for people’s rights and a tireless worker helping other countries improve their environmental and sociological positions. What he sees and the people he meets when he travels around the world directly inspired the music on his third album, Global Skies.
“The more I travel, the more I cross cultures and borders, the more I listen to people with divergent views speak their minds, the more I appreciate the world’s breathtaking diversity and recognize it for what I think it is: humanity’s greatest strength,” states Cooper. “But we have to work to bring together a planet splintered by prejudice and contorted by irrational fears. For life on our planet to remain sustainable, indeed, for humanity to survive at all, we need to strive to build a more inclusive, more unified world that ultimately works for everyone. But to accomplish this, we need to face down our fears and embrace a new spirit of universality that heals the old wounds while still celebrating our diversity. On the album Global Skies, I created music from my heart crying out for that new world.”
In addition to using music to try to construct a better world, Timothy Cooper also utilizes art, literature and films as well as his organizational efforts assisting people, cultures and countries. Currently he leads a consortium of major international companies in an effort to help low-lying nations in Asia mitigate the devastating impact of sea level rise through the use of sensible environmental practices. From 2002-2010, Timothy Cooper served as executive director of World Rights, a non-governmental organization specializing in human rights and environmental issues. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Middle East Peace Civic Forum, a Washington, D.C.- based peace group set up in association with the J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center. In 2016, he published a major article in Global Policy Journal about a new strategy for achieving a lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace (http://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/07/10/2016/sea-peace-middle-east).
Prior to Global Skies, Cooper released two other well-received solo piano recordings — Light on the Water (influenced by the tragic terrorist acts of 9/11 and the subsequent healing process that the American public went through) and East Wind (inspired by the people, culture, art and scenery of the Far East as well as the ancient mystery and compelling power of the Orient). Light on the Water went Top 15 and East Wind climbed into the Top 10 on the Top 100 Zone Music Reporter international new age music chart. In 2017, Cooper produced (in association with Enlightened Piano Artists) Solo Piano Songs of Peace, a compilation album featuring sixteen distinguished new age pianists.
“I want to help our global society become more peaceful and harmonious, and one way to do that is to release gentle and positive music into the world,” explains Cooper. “My music is meant to please the listener, but it is also about a new worldwide call for action. It is about human liberation and freedom, renewal and resurgence, creating rather than destroying, and protecting our planet. The music reflects the need to build a true world civilization that utilizes the best of humanity’s spectacular creativity and energies to live up to the necessary mandate of caring for the underprivileged, eliminating poverty, educating everyone, defeating base tyranny and state-sponsored repression, ending all wars, and alleviating unnecessary human suffering. It is about humankind’s indomitable spirit and desire for a better world.”
More information about Timothy Cooper, his music and his career, is available at his website (timothycooper.net). His CDs and digital download tracks from those recordings are available at online sales sites such as CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and many others.
Global Skies begins with “Singapore Sunrise” (“the moment of blinding dawn symbolizes the definitive moment when love arises in a distant land, born out of storm and rain”) followed by “Prague Horizons” (“I once arrived in Prague when it was wrapped in a dense, flowing, white fog obscuring all horizons which made me realize we can still expand the horizons in our minds with thought, dreams and imagination”). “Geneva Moonlight Rainbow” is “a rhapsody about the mystifying polarity of love, its ecstasy and anguish, as signified here by night and day, moonlight and a rainbow, joys and heartaches.” The tune is reprised later on the album and “hints at Johann Sebastian Bach’s influence on my work,” Cooper says.
“‘Warsaw Nights’ was inspired by my first trip there about ten years after the Soviets withdrew leaving a patina that still stained the city’s face, but with the people there was an exhilarating feeling of freedom, liberation and hope. ‘Global Skies’ is about overcoming prejudice by walking new pathways, crossing borders and making connections, integrating everyone into a new world. On ‘Jerusalem Dreamings’ I tried to capture that special light you see there, that clean, clear light, endowed with spirituality and universality, illuminating the dream of peace. ‘The Light After,’ which I wrote for Solo Piano Songs of Peace album, is my anthem celebrating peace following the tragedy and ravages of senseless war. Peace is a gift to cherish and sustain. Peace is paradise on earth.”
Cooper, who lives in Washington, DC, creates thought-provoking art in several fields. In addition to being a pianist and composer, he is a novelist, photographer and film-maker. His first novel, World One, was about “nuclear war with a happy ending when the entire planet finally learns to live together in peace.” His second novel, 2020, deals with Jesus Christ returning to earth and running for President. With his visual art, Cooper has created his Worldlights collection, photographs taken all over the world showing the globalization of culture and the exultation of commercialism. The photos are placed in large-format lightbox triptychs. Cooper also has long been involved with film-making and produced four documentaries on human rights, global warming and pursuit of world democracy, entitled “World Rights,” from his company Freedom’s Gate Films.
Cooper began his musical career at age seven singing in the choir at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in Washington, DC. At the Washington National Cathedral, one of the largest sanctuaries in the country, he spent two years as a chorister in the junior choir and then moved up to the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys while also attending and singing at the St. Albans School for Boys. “I received a very deep exposure to choral and sacred music. It was very, very rigorous training.” The choir also toured the United States and United Kingdom, and recorded several albums.
When he was 17 and 18, Cooper traveled extensively and began taking photographs, primarily of people, in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, England and Ireland. “I was beginning to understand humanity and the human condition. It gave me a sense of the global community.” In high school Timothy also learned to play guitar, but after hearing Ravi Shankar on sitar, Cooper began playing that instrument for several years. At age 19, Cooper began learning to play the piano, and from then on he has regularly practiced his improvisational creativity. Over the years Cooper has been inspired by acoustic-oriented musicians such as Keith Jarrett, Liz Story, Will Ackerman, Philip Aaberg and Suzanne Ciani.
Cooper also has a passion for film-making. One of the short films he created in high school was about the Spanish Inquisition (“man’s inhumanity to man”), and it won numerous national and international film awards. This led to Timothy being the youngest student (at age 18) ever accepted at that time to the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Film Studies in Los Angeles, which primarily offered a two-year upper-graduate program. There Cooper studied classic films, wrote scripts and shot videos for critiquing, and attended lectures by Steven Spielberg, David Lean and Martin Scorsese. After graduation, Cooper produced a feature film, “The Big Deal,” about the end of the Sixties.
“Global Skies is about perspectives shifting, just as skies are ever-changing,” states Cooper. “I have hope that in time people’s openness to whole new sets of perspectives will give them the grace to accept the views of all those who stand under different skies.”