TJ Cole (they/them) is a composer and synthesizer performer, originally from the suburbs of Atlanta. They are currently in a yearlong residency with the Louisville Orchestra, part of the inaugural year of the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps, where they are writing new large-scale works for orchestra and organizing community engagement projects throughout Louisville, Kentucky.
They have been commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Nashville in Harmony, Intersection, Time for Three, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Play On Philly!, the Music in May Festival, Music in the Vineyards, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, One Book One Philadelphia, the Bakken Trio, among others.
Their music has been performed by various ensembles including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, Ensemble Connect, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, the Dover Quartet, the Bakken Trio, the Nebula Ensemble, among others. They have also worked on numerous projects with Time for Three as an orchestrator and arranger, and served as a composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2014.
"Mystical, slightly minimalist quality, with imaginative orchestral tone painting"
TJ has also been a singer-songwriter, producer, and engineer in the fully electronic synth-pop band, Twin Pixie, which focused on making music at the intersection of queerness, pop culture, and the supernatural.
TJ has participated in composition programs including the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, and the New Emerging Artists Festival, and studied with Samuel Adler for a summer at the Freie Universität Berlin. They have won two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer awards (2014 and 2020), including the Leo Kaplan Award in 2020 for their string sextet 'Playtime'.
TJ has also been involved with music-related community engagement projects. They collaborated with bassist Ranaan Meyer as an orchestrator on his project, The World We All Deserve Through Music, and with First Person Arts by co-curating and performing in a musical story slam. During a yearlong ArtistYear Fellowship (2016-17), TJ was able to co-run and collaborate in musical performances and songwriting workshops with residents of Project HOME, a Philadelphia based organization fighting to end chronic homelessness.
In 2019, they collaborated with Eric Huckins (Astral Artists) and the Aquinas Center in Philadelphia on an after-school program for children ages 6-12 that aimed to foster emotional self-awareness and expression through music and creativity.
As part of the 2022-23 Louisville Orchestra Creator-Corps residency, TJ is curating and composing music to be paired with children’s stories that will be performed across Louisville Free Public Libraries. They are also partnering on a project with VOICES of Kentuckiana, an LGBTQ+ and alliances community chorus based in Louisville.
TJ received their Bachelor's degree in composition from the Curtis Institute of Music, and studied at Interlochen Arts Academy. Their mentors include John Boyle Jr., Jennifer Higdon, David Ludwig, and Richard Danielpour.
Other than music, TJ also enjoys cooking, sewing, video games, swing sets on playgrounds, and playing with their cat, Zucchini.
TJ kindly asks not to be programmed in settings that are purposely themed or marketed to be consisting of "all women composers", or anything similar. (This does not mean they can't be programmed on concerts consisting of all other women composers.) Thank you for your understanding.