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First Name: Lewis Hugh
Last Name: Cooper
Bio: Lewis Hugh Cooper was born in Pontiac, Michigan on New Year's Eve December 31, 1920. Hugh's early musical training began under the guidance of Dale C. Harris, superintendent of Pontiac's then superb instrumental music program. Following graduation from high school, he was "recruited" by William D. Revelli, and in 1938 enrolled as a freshman at the University of Michigan School of Music in Ann Arbor. Hugh's choice proved to be fortuitous for Michigan's high performance standards under the leadership of William Revelli, Thor Johnson, and Eric De Lamarter, coupled with gracious help freely given by a steady stream of touring professional orchestra bassoonists such as Sol Schoenbach, Simon Kovar, Hugo Fox and many others, contributed to Hugh's development as a performer and awakened his insatiable thirst for knowledge pertaining to his chosen profession. L. Hugh Cooper's long, fruitful association with the University of Michigan continued unbroken until his retirement May 31, 1997 after serving 52 years (!) as their bassoon teacher. Hugh was already a part-time instructor of bassoon at the University beginning in 1945, a full eleven years prior to receiving his B. Mus. degree. Prof. Cooper is the longest serving University of Michigan faculty member of record. Hugh was concurrently a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra bassoon section from 1946-1964, performing under three permanent conductors (Karl Kruger, Paul Paray, Sixten Ehrling) and numerous guest conductors including Bruno Walter, Eugene Ormandy, George Szell, Antal Dorati, Sir Thomas Beecham, Leonard Bernstein, Fritz Reiner, and Dmitri Mitropoulos. He was a charter member of the University of Michigan Faculty Woodwind Quintet with whom he extensively performed from 1948-1982. Hugh also was one of the "Founding Members" instrumental in organizing the International Double Reed Society in 1971, hosted the Society's first conference in Ann Arbor in 1972, instruments and is responsible for the development and manufacture of Cooper-P¸chner bassoons. He was and still is one of the most sought-after bassoon repair technicians, the same high standards that he insisted on in performance and scholarship are no less evident in his own work on instruments new and old. Hugh carries on in the wonderful tradition of the great master craftsman W. Hans Moennig. Cooper's book Essentials of Bassoon Technique, an encyclopedic listing of bassoon fingerings and their usage, is considered the definitive work in its field. Numerous other published technical articles firmly establish Hugh as an internationally recognized double reed expert. Lewis Hugh Cooper has excelled in so many aspects of music that he represents the prototypical Renaissance Man of the bassoon world. As performer, teacher, researcher, author, designer, craftsman, he exemplifies the consummate model and inspiration for all of us.
Source: Double Reed 21/2 (1998)