Claire Cope is a British Composer and Pianist who works across a multitude of genres including contemporary classical and jazz and improvised music. Claire studied piano performance at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with SallyAnn Macleod where she won the John Ireland Prize and the Principal’s Prize for Improvisation.
She also holds an FRSM in piano performance with distinction, as well as an MA in musicology with distinction from The Open University.
As a bandleader she has released an EP with her trio, the Claire James Trio on the Manchester based Efpi label in 2011 and performed at the Manchester Jazz Festival, the London Jazz Festival and as part of the BBC Proms Plus Series, broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
In 2020, Claire released her debut album with contemporary jazz septet Ensemble C where she is joined by acclaimed UK jazz musicians Brigitte Beraha, Jack Davies, Jon Ormston, Tom Varrall, Ed Babar and Rob Cope. This was described by Fiona Ross (Jazz in Europe) as a ‘stunning debut album’, and was reviewed by a number of publications across the UK and internationally, with the Jazztrail in New York writing that the work ‘forecasts a promising future for Cope as a composer’.
As a pianist, Claire collaborates with a diverse range of musicians, and has performed in Andy Scott’s ‘Mancunity’ band at the Manchester Jazz Festival in 2019, and performed on Jemma Freese’s (Maximo Park vocalist/keyboard player) debut album ‘Shadow Boxing’ which was released in 2022.
Recent compositional successes have seen Claire win the Marvin Hamlisch International Music Award (Jazz Composition) in 2022, following a nomination for the same award in 2020. In 2019, Claire composed and performed the short solo piano score for Rob Cope’s documentary film ‘Richard Turner: A Life in Music. In 2021, Claire was commissioned by the ground-breaking Apollo Saxophone Quartet to compose a new work, and this was premiered at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester on 5th November 2022.
This year, Claire was selected to participate in the 2023 LunArt Composer Hub in Madison, Wisconsin, and she has been awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice Grant from Arts Council England to develop new music for an expanded Ensemble C. She has also been selected as a fellow on the Let’s Bespoken Mentorship programme for 20 female and non binary musicians from around the world.
Reviews and Testimonials
“Claire’s music is beautiful; imaginative, uplifting, thoughtful and reflective. The beauty is the subtlety; of the journey of a melody, the gently shifting sands of texture and the control of form, energy and dynamic. All in Ensemble C bring personality to SMALL WORLD, with special mention to vocalist Brigitte Beraha, and Claire herself (listen to her piano introduction on ‘Eyes Open’). Finely recorded and mixed, SMALL WORLD is a treasure that should be shared far and wide!”
ANDY SCOTT – AWARD WINNING SAXOPHONIST AND COMPOSER.
“This album is full of choices, decisions, an intricate working between the musicians and as a voyage through life is working and full of promise at times, whilst calm and reflective at others. Very enjoyable and the music reveals Cope as a musician with a deep sense of communication and musical community.”
– SAMMY STEIN, JAZZ VIEWS
“Composer and pianist Claire Cope has released a stunning debut album entitled ‘Small World’. Inspired by her love of travelling and human experience and connections, Claire along with her fantastic band, Ensemble C, take us on a wistful and fulfilling journey. Each track has a varied and unique inspiration that is communicated through the music beautifully.”
“This is a particularly good, strong debut album from an ensemble that puts across a very coherent, well-written set of tunes from composer Claire Cope. I shall be listening out for more from this group of talented musicians led by someone who clearly knows how to write highly enjoyable ensemble jazz music.”