Imogen Cooper

Imogen Cooper, CBE (born 28 August 1949) is an English pianist.

Cooper was born in North London, daughter of the musicologist Martin du Pré Cooper and Mary Stewart, artist. She grew up surrounded by music through her parents and her older siblings: Felicity, Josephine and Dominic Cooper. Realising that Imogen had an exceptional musical talent her parents sent her at the age of 12 to Paris to study for six years at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (CNSM) with Jacques Février, Yvonne Lefébure and Germaine Mounier. This was considered a provocative move by the music establishment, and there was a lengthy correspondence in The Times between Thomas Armstrong, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and Martin Cooper, arguing the pros and cons of taking a gifted child out of conventional education to specialise so early, and in a foreign country.

In 1967 at the age of 17, the CNSM awarded her a Premier Prix de Piano, a major distinction. Cooper was mentored in her late teens by Arthur Rubinstein and Clifford Curzon, and subsequently studied in Vienna with Alfred Brendel, Paul Badura-Skoda and Jörg Demus, particularly in her early twenties by Brendel, an experience that has resonated with her throughout her performing life. Apart from spending her teenage years in Paris, London has been Cooper's principal residence.

She is particularly known for her interpretations of Schubert and Schumann, but she has also been involved in modern music, giving the premières of works such as Traced Overhead by Thomas Adès. As well as performing as soloist she participates in chamber music and lieder, and has had a long-standing partnership with baritone Wolfgang Holzmair.

She was appointed CBE in the 2007 New Year Honours List.[1] and awarded the The Queen's Medal for Music in 2019.[2]


  1. ^ "Honours for Stewart and Glennie". BBC News. 30 December 2006. Retrieved 15 May 2008., para. 12.
  2. ^ "The Queen's Medal for Music 2019". Classical Music. 28 August 2020.

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