The Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology is proud to welcome Associate Professor Tyron Cooper to our faculty starting Fall 2022! Dr. Tyron Cooper is a five-time Emmy award winner and Director of Indiana University’s (IU) Archives of African American Music and Culture. He holds a BA degree in music education from Bethune-Cookman University as well as a MA in Jazz Studies and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology both from IU. Additionally, he is the former director of the IU Soul Revue, a performance ensemble/course dedicated to performing and examining Black popular music post WWII to present. Along with teaching and primary research in African American music and culture, Cooper is recognized for his extensive studio recording and live performance experience as music director, guitarist, vocalist, composer and arranger for national artists such as A Taste of Honey, Max Roach, Bo Diddley, Dionne Warwick, Felton Pilate, Marietta Simpson, Angela Brown, The Soulful Symphony, Donnie McClurkin, Jason Nelson, Lamar Campbell, Bishop Leonard Scott, Kathy Taylor, and Walt Whitman and The Soul Children to name a few. As composer, he has garnered 11 Emmy award nominations and five Emmy wins for his music in the PBS documentaries Strange Fruit: The Salt Project (2014), Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier (2014), Attucks: The School That Opened a City (2017), Eva A-7063 (2018) and most recently Singing Winds: The Life and Works of T.C. Steele (2022). Cooper is also co-founder and owner of Art Salad Productions, a company that provides support for diverse arts education/performance within varied community, academic and industry settings.
Cooper states, "I am thrilled to return to the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, where I received my Ph.D. As a performer-scholar with a specialization in African American music, I engage both sacred and secular musical traditions—a reflection of my Southern musical formation, which traversed a range of musical genres. This appointment in Folklore and Ethnomusicology will allow me to fully engage all aspects of my musical interests and expertise, following the model previously established by retired Professors Portia Maultsby and Mellonee Burnim, both of whom provided strong mentorship as my career developed. The training and continued support I have received from them and others, including Drs. Ruth Stone, Daniel Reed, and Sue Tuohy, offered a strong, well-integrated disciplinary foundation that has profoundly shaped my scholarship and artistry in the academy, community, and industry. I hope to extend this legacy of effective pedagogy, sound intellectual exploration, and lifechanging nurturing, as I interact with students preparing for future success. I am pleased to have had the opportunity of serving in various capacities in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies over the past twenty years, as I progressed from graduate student through the ranks of professional staff and faculty. Units such as AAADS provide both critical content and unique perspectives within academic communities. My work in Folklore and Ethnomusicology will be well-informed by my experience there. Finally, I'm grateful to my colleagues in Folklore and Ethnomusicology who have graciously welcomed me, as I enter this new phase in the academy."