Cotten Professional Bio

Michael Cotten, born May 15, 1994 in Morehead, Kentucky, holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education (summa cum laude) from the University of Kentucky where he studied with Dr. Jason Dovel. Privately He studied with performer/composer Ben Levin and currently works under San Fransisco based producer Underbelly. Mr. Cotten is an avid composer and arranger with his works being featured on numerous concerts and mediums. Cotten's works have been performed at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra conference and multiple times at the  International Trumpet Guild New Works Recital amongst other venues. Exploring multiple mediums, Cotten has released the trumpet lofi hiphop EP "This Place" (2020), written music for professional Youtubers, and wrote instrumental parts for a live performance of Puppy Love by Ouiwey Collins, son of famous bassist Bootsy Collins. 


In addition to these accomplishments his compositions and arrangements have been performed at the International Women’s  Brass Conference, Kentucky and Ohio State Education Conference, multiple honor bands, Eastern Trombone Workshop, American Trombone Workshop, National Trumpet Competition, and Great American Brass Band Festival. Groups that have played his music include the United States Army Band “Perhsing’s Own” Brass Quintet, Cincinnati Junior Youth Wind Ensemble at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Fillmore  Wind Band,  Fillmore Philharmonic Brass Band, University of Kentucky  Trombone Choir and Trombone Octet, University of Kentucky Trumpet Ensemble, and Commonwealth Trombones.

Michael won the 2016 KMEA (Kentucky) College Composition Contest with his piece Wayfarer’s Hymn which received its premiere at the KMEA State Conference by the Fillmore Wind Band trumpet section. In 2014 he received a Summer Undergraduate Research Grant from the University of Kentucky to study with composer Anthony Barfield at the Julliard School of Music in New York, New York. His research paper from the study was published in University of Kentucky research journal Kaleidoscope and is titled “Creating through Musical Composition: Adding to the Wind Band Repertoire”

Michael is also active in arranging for Marching Band where his arrangements have garnered many awards. His arrangements have helped marching bands achieve numerous finalist appearances and circuit champions in both state and the national circuits. He has also arranged for the Western Illinois University Marching Leathernecks when they performed an arrangement of his at the 2015 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago. Active as trumpeter, Michael performs with the Fillmore Wind Band, Ohio Valley Big Band, and Fillmore Chamber Winds.


Cotten currently resides in Russellville, Arkansas where he is the band director for Hector Public Schools. Formerly he was the band director at RA Jones Middle School in Florence, KY and La Salle High School in Cincinnati, OH. While at RA Jones Middle School, Cotten received the Cincinnati Warm 98.5 Teacher Award by an anonymous nomination from one of his band parents for "not just teaching [my student] to succeed but teaching her the importance of how to fail."

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© 2020 by Michael Cotten

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