At our July Membership Meeting, a special election took place to fill a vacancy on the Executive Board. Dr. P. Blake Cooper was nominated for the director position and elected by acclamation.
“I’m happy to serve AFM Local 47 as a new member of the Executive Board,” Dr. Cooper said. “After the retirement of my friend and colleague Andy Malloy, I was approached by members of the board about filling in for two months until the time of a General Membership Meeting Special Election, which took place on July 22, 2019. I am very pleased to have won that election and have the opportunity to continue my service to Local 47. In my time on the board so far I have learned a great deal about the inner workings of our Union, and I continue to learn more all the time.
“I have also been an active member of the Contract Action Team (CAT) which has the focus of a fair contract for recording musicians in regard to recording for new media, also known as streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+. We’ve already had very successful actions, including the June 27th AMPTP rally, and there is more to come as we get closer to our October negotiations. I urge you all to get involved; this contract effects everyone, as it could have a very positive impact on our pension fund as well the ability for musicians in L.A. to make a living wage.
“As a member of the Executive Board my hope is to help guide the Local into this new era, a more digital era. I hope we can all grow and evolve into a better and stronger Union with fair contracts for all lines of work. I also aim to keep our Local fiscally responsible, again to ensure a strong Union for generations to come. Lastly, I hope to be a voice on the board for a younger generation of musicians. If you see me at work, please come say hello.”
Dr. P. Blake Cooper is a Los Angeles based freelance tubist, who additionally doubles on cimbasso, electric bass, sousaphone and bass trombone. As an orchestral musician, he has been the principal tubist of the New West Symphony since 2013 and has had the pleasure of performing with the LA Philharmonic, LA Opera, LA Chamber Orchestra, LA Master Chorale, San Diego Symphony, Pasadena Symphony and Pops, Santa Barbara Symphony, MUSE/IQUE, San Bernardino Symphony, Riverside Philharmonic, and the Redlands Symphony to name a few. Some other unique live performances from recent years include the 2017 Hans Zimmer Live Tour which included two performances at Coachella, Joe Hisaishi Live at the Microsoft Theater, and the rock opera “Quadrophenia” at the Greek Theatre.
Dr. Cooper can also be found at the various recording studios and sound stages around L.A. recording for movies, TV, video games and record dates. Some projects he has contributed to include “The Lion King” (2019), “Coco,” “Doctor Sleep,” “Torrance,” “IT: Part 2,” “Christopher Robin,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Star Trek Discovery,” “Welcome to Marwen,” “Little,” “Triple Frontier,” “The Umbrella Academy,” “TAG,” “Isn’t it Romantic,” “The Nun,” “The Grinch,” “Batman v. Superman,” “Halo Wars 2,” League of Legends” and many more. Some notable composers Blake has recorded for include Hans Zimmer, Michael Giacchino, Germaine Fran-co, Danny Elfman, The Newton Bros, Benjamin Wallfisch, Bear McCreary, John Debney, Abel Korzeniowski and Alan Silvestri.
Dr. Cooper is also a passionate music educator. Since 2012 he has served as adjunct professor of tuba (and euphonium as of fall 2018) at California State University, Northridge and additionally teaches as instructor of tuba at Santa Monica College, La Sierra University and previously at LACC. He has a small private studio of elite young tubists, most of whom have gone on to be accepted at schools such as the Eastman School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory, Oberlin, USC, UCLA, and many more. He is also the music director and orchestra conductor for the Harmony Project’s Regional Youth Orchestra where he conducts and programs for two youth orchestras and youth wind ensemble. From 2010 to 2016 Dr. Cooper served as the founding lead brass specialist and wind ensemble director for the LA Phil’s El Sistema-inspired Youth Orchestra initiative YOLA @ HOLA. During that time he also taught for the Bard College Longy School of Music MAT program where he worked with aspiring El Sistema teachers as a mentor, supervisor and conducting education faculty.
A proud native of Louisville, KY, Dr. Cooper earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky in music education with a minor focus in jazz bass. He then moved to Texas to pursue graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a master’s in tuba performance and serving as graduate teaching assistant in applied tuba. Finally in 2009, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a doctor of musical arts degree at USC in tuba performance with emphases in music education, jazz bass and instrumental conducting. Blake’s past teachers include Jim Self, Norm Pearson, Doug Tornquist, Alphonso Johnson, Charles Villarrubia, Steven L. Bryant, and Skip Gray.