Lisa Coons

Photo of Lisa Coons
Lisa R. Coons
Assistant Professor of Music
(269) 387-2549
1503 Dalton Center, Mail Stop 5434
Mailing address: 
School of Music
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5434 USA
  • Ph.D., Princeton University
  • M.M., SUNY-Stony Brook University
  • B.A., University of Missouri-Kansas City
Teaching interests: 
  • Composition

Dr. Lisa R. Coons is an assistant professor of music specializing in composition at Western Michigan University. A composer and sound artist with a special affinity to noise composition and experimentation, she is attracted to the sound palettes inherent in simple materials and creates welded sculptural instruments from found and salvaged objects. Her portfolio includes music for acoustic and electronic instruments, turntables, traditional ensembles and welded percussion sculptures.

Coons received her Ph.D. in composition from Princeton University in 2011. Prior music degrees include a master's from SUNY Stony Brook and a bachelor's from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Her primary teachers were Barbara White, Steven Mackey, Paul Lansky, James Mobberley and Chen Yi.

Before coming to Western Michigan University, Coons was a Jackie McLean Fellow and visiting professor of composition at the Hartt School in the University of Hartford. Recent awards and fellowships include a 2011 Composer Fellowship from the Other Minds Festival, a 2012 ICElab Fellowship from the International Contemporary Ensemble, and multiple recognitions by the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award consisting of those for her string quartet Awkward Music, and Cross-Sections: four pieces for electric guitar quartet. Recent commissions and collaborations include works for the California EAR Unit, the Machine Project for the Hammer Museum of Los Angeles, the Violin Futura Project, the Navitas Ensemble, Dither Electric Guitar Quartet, and Iktus Percussion Quartet. Her current project, an evening-length work for dance created in collaboration with the International Contemporary Ensemble and The Troupe, will premiere at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York during the 2012-13 season.

Coons' most recent scholarly work includes the publication of her article on gender, performance, and the voice in the peer-reviewed International Journal for Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations. Her music appeared on the 2010 album Dither (Henceforth Records) and her piece "Music Painted from Memory" for violin, cello and video was included as a DVD in the 2011-12 Constructions (released by Collected Recordings).

Coons is a founding member of the bicoastal composers collective, The Collected.