Hailed by the New York Times for his “sweet intensity” and “insinuating smoothness,” Michael Couper, saxophone, is a proponent of the advancement of saxophone repertoire to include new music, traditional music reinterpreted, and innovations in pop styles. Under the pseudonym “Shrodinger's Sax”, Dr. Couper plays soprano saxophone with the highly virtuosic and unique band SWARMIUS, described as a sonic fusion of hip-hop, house-lounge-techno meets modern-classical. Dr. Couper is also a founding member of the critically-acclaimed Mimesis Ensemble, a group based in New York City that is dedicated to performing works by living composers. Both as a soloist and with the Mimesis Ensemble, he performed premieres in many venues across New York, including Symphony Space and Merkin Hall, and Carnegie Hall. Partnering with saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky, Dr. Couper co-founded a music publishing company, RCEditions that endeavors to enrich the repertoire of the modern saxophonist, offering as part of its catalog adaptations of historical masterworks as well as exciting new commissions.
With the Quadrivium Saxophone Quartet, Dr. Couper received a Performance Outreach Fellowship from New England Conservatory (NEC) to give educational and multi-faceted recitals in the Boston area, in schools and after-school programs as well as in adult communities. Dr. Couper has also performed with the Boston-based new music ensemble, Juventas, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, as well as several local orchestras in the Los Angeles area. Utilizing the saxophone, clarinet, and flute, Dr. Couper plays frequently for musical theater productions and studio recording sessions. He is an active teacher and performer in the community, with a private studio comprised of woodwind and music theory students, and positions at several local community music schools and conservatories. In November of 2011, he collaborated on a Grammy-nominated disc of chamber works on the Sono Luminous label, and has subsequently recorded with SWARMIUS and for the LA Operetta Foundation.
Dr. Couper earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts with distinction from the University of Southern California, his Master of Music from New England Conservatory, and his Bachelor of Music from San Diego State University, where he was the outstanding graduate for the School of Music. His past teachers include James Rötter, Kenneth Radnofsky, Todd Rewoldt, and Douglas Masek for saxophone, Frank Ticheli, Malcolm Peyton, and Brent Dutton, for composition, and Larry Livingston for conducting. Dr. Couper is a Conn-Selmer artist endorsing Yanagisawa saxophones.