TJ Cole (b. 1993) is an American composer originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, currently based in Philadelphia. Her musical studies began at a young age when she started taking piano lessons. Soon after, when she was six, she wrote her first composition, a piano lullaby for her new baby brother. In her early teens, she studied cello for fun by playing with local youth orchestras. When she was 16, she realized that she did not want to pursue a life of performance, but a life dedicated to creation. So she began to focus her pursuits on her passion for composing.
TJ has been commissioned by the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, Time for Three and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, One Book One Philadelphia among others. Her work has been performed by the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Georgia Governor’s Honors String Orchestra, ensemble39, the Dover Quartet, violinist Robert Simonds, the Singing City Children’s Choir, among others. Her work has been conducted under artists such as Octavio Mas-Arocas, Marin Alsop, Louis Langrée Michael Giel, Kensho Watanabe, and Vinay Parameswaran. TJ served as a composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music during their 2014 season. She has also collaborated with bassist Ranaan Meyer as an orchestrator on his project, The World We All Deserve Through Music, as well as a collaboration with First Person Arts by co-curating and performing in a musical story slam.
TJ won first prize in the Atlanta Music Club Composition Competition in 2011, as well as a 2015 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer award. She has been awarded the Neil Rabaut Memorial Scholarship through Interlochen Arts Academy in 2011, a has been named a Presser Undergraduate Scholar through the Curtis Institute of Music for the 2015-16 academic year. TJ entered Interlochen Arts Academy for high school in 2010 where she studied under John Boyle Jr. and Cynthia Van Maanen. In 2016, she received her Bachelor’s degree in composition from the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied under Jennifer Higdon, David Ludwig, and Richard Danielpour. She is currently and Artist Year Fellow at the Curtis Institute, where she is committed to various music related community service projects in the Philadelphia community.
TJ has also had master classes and/or lessons with composers Steven Stucky, Krzysztof Penderecki, Samuel Adler, Joan Tower, Unsuk Chin, Marilyn Shrude, Shulamit Ran, Roshanne Etezady, Matthias Pintscher, Steven Mackey, William Bolcom, and Gabriela Lena Frank. Her work has also been coached by Curtis’ ensemble-in-residence, eighth blackbird. TJ participated in the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival’s young composer program in 2014, and in 2015 studied with Samuel Adler in Berlin at FUBiS, the Freie Universität Berlin. Other than music, TJ also enjoys drawing, baking, and taking care of the various cats in her life: Xena, Zelda, and Batman
To learn more about TJ’s music, please visit her website.