Composer | Conductor | Saxophonist
...Sweet intesity... insinuating smoothness
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Michael Couper’s “Transcend,” a three-movement Concertino for Soprano Saxophone and Electronic Orchestra, presents a jaunty, comfortably tonal sonic tapestry. The composer is the accomplished soloist in this score that sports the drive of a tightly constructed action movie sound track.
SAN DIEGO STORY
...Converging with Michael Couper’s effectively dynamic birdcalls and pensive deliberateness
...Moody saxophone solos—executed with consummate finesse by Michael Couper
SAN DIEGO STORY
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Hailed by the New York Times for his “sweet intensity” and “insinuating smoothness,” modern saxophonist Michael Couper has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician at venues including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Seoul Arts Center, and Ryougoku Monten Hall in Tokyo. Dr. Couper was a finalist in the 2019 Matthew Ruggiero International Woodwind Competition and the prestigious 2015 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh competition. He plays with the San Diego and Modesto Symphonies, the Mimesis Ensemble in New York, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, and the San Diego Winds, among others. Dr. Couper performed the Tomasi Concerto with the San Bernardino Symphony in 2018 and has performed concerti with the Mimesis Ensemble, the USC Symphony Orchestra, the SDSU Wind Ensemble and the SDSU Orchestra. Under the pseudonym “Shrodinger’s Sax,” Dr. Couper plays soprano saxophone with the musically acrobatic and genre-defying band SWARMIUS, described as “a sonic fusion of hip-hop and house-lounge-techno meets modern-classical.”
Since the very beginning of his musical studies, Michael Couper has been torn between being a composer and a performer. In addition to an output that includes vocal music, chamber music, and an opera, he has worked with a multitude of composers and publishers as an arranger and orchestrator for small ensembles as well as large orchestras. His concertino for soprano saxophone and chamber orchestra, Transcend, was premiered in January 2020 at Carnegie Hall by the critically acclaimed Mimesis Ensemble. Besides film and conventional orchestral music, he is fascinated with Electronic Dance Music, in particular Zedd and Armin Van Buuren.
Dr. Couper studied composition with Brent Dutton, Malcolm Peyton, and Frank Ticheli and has a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Saxophone Performance from USC. He has served on the faculty at CSU San Bernardino and San Diego State University, and is a Conn-Selmer Artist endorsing Yanagisawa saxophones.