Of Scottish descent, and raised in Australia, Julian Cochran was formally trained was as a pure mathematician; however, at the age of fourteen, received a scholarship to Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium for advanced piano studies. Julian taught himself to play numerous instruments, some of them virtuosically, and this foundation of improvisation and melodic invention remained within Cochran's compositional technique. On the one hand, there is always a remarkable inner logic interlaced within Cochran's music, and on the other hand, it always carries astonishing beauty and mystery.
Steeped in tradition of European classical music, yet breathtakingly fresh, Cochran's piano-writing style and technique have seen him become widely influential, and numerous Cochran concert tours have been performed to great public acclaim in the principal concert halls of Europe and Russia.
In addition to his works entering the standard piano-solo concert repertoire, Cochran is famed for his improvised performances on piano, which are widely treasured for their inventiveness. The master composer is also renowned for executing full-length public concerts comprised entirely of this work and has recorded 100 hours of innovative, dramatic and alluring improvisations.
Cochran's written works demonstrate a great regard for the piano traditions of Liszt, Balakirev and more recent composers such as Ravel and Prokofiev. Piano Sonata No. 2, for instance, can be viewed as an extension of Prokofiev's rhythmic sophistication and advanced harmonics. Even his more difficult pieces are marked by elegance and refinement.
Highlighted by the aesthetic characteristics of Eastern European folk music, Cochran's comprehensive body of piano works includes Toccata & Fire Dance, ten Preludes, four Scherzi, six Romanian Dances, Animation Suite, Animal Scenes, five Mazurkas, the five-part piano cycle Pegasus' Travels, Minuet and Courante, Maelstrom, two piano sonatas and piano transcriptions of his orchestral works.
Cochran's orchestral and chamber music includes the Romanian Dances, the large single movement symphonic work Dagda's Harp, two Waltzes, a trio for violin and oboe (involving the Greek legend of Artemis), a sextet for string quartet, oboe and bassoon titled Zorya Vechernyaya, choral works. The four part orchestral work Symphonic Tale comprises Russian Song and Skazka and two grand Scherzi.
Concert pianists and students alike delight in mastering Cochran's piano works and discovering the intelligence, charm and surprises existing within some of the most exquisite and artistic piano writing of our time. Gil Sullivan, who performs Cochran's works extensively including two concerts at Carnegie Hall, describes Cochran's works as "exhibiting striking individuality and personality, and exuding a dramatic intensity and power rare in this era".
London based Conductor Levon Parikian highlights a key Cochran distinction: "We hear extreme virtuosity in some of these admirably concise and expertly-tailored compositions. Hearteningly, though, this virtuosity is always in the service of the music, rather than an empty display of flashy pyrotechnics."
Julian Cochran (Джулиан Кохран in cyrillic) immigrated to Australia in 1978 and since 2017 resides in Monaco. The entire sheet music collection is readily obtained from juliancochran.org.
The International Cochran Piano Competition is one of few piano competitions devoted entirely to the works of a single composer and is held in Warsaw, Poland.
Summarised Chronological History of Julian Cochran - fact checker for musicians, researchers, etc.
1974: Born in Cambridge, England, to both parents of Scottish ancestry.
1978: Immigrates to Australia with family owing to father, Malcolm Cochran, receiving a job opportunity as a kidney specialist with interest in both practice and research.
1985: At the age of 11, Julian's Mother, Mary, is astonished by her son preoccupied at a piano and creating beautiful sounds, having touched the instrument for the first time at a school excursion. Piano lessons are arranged with a teacher of good reputation, Muriel Hopgood, which continue for three years until early Conservatorium entry.
1986: . At the age of twelve, Julian's mother, Mary, is killed in a tragic family car accident, Julian nearly fatally injured however eventually recovers fully.
. Advances through the AMEB examinations from year level 1 to year level 8 over the next 3 years and receives the highest grade (A) for each examination.
1987: . Father brings computer home from work and Julian at 13 teaches himself programming and writes original computer games over the next five years.
. Family life remains deteriorated for the next decade, as no extended family was living in Australia, father's demanding medical career contributes to it being difficult to look after the three children.
1988: At age of fourteen, awarded a rare scholarship with early entry to the Elder Conservatorium, University of Adelaide.
1990: Ends lessons at the conservatorium, favouring his more personal endeavors of designing and programming computer games.
1991: Acquires second-hand four channel multi-track recording equipment and self-teaches a range of instruments, paying most attention to classical guitar and electric guitar but also including in recordings accordion, bass guitar, mandolins and recorders and bringing recording equipment to the Conservatorium to include harprichord and timpani within his experimental tape recordings.
1992: . At age eighteen, one of Julian's original computer games, D-Zone, takes off overseas as one of the more popular games using the global Shareware distribution model prevalent in the BBS days prior to the internet. Julian receives purchases and over 500 hand-written fan mail letters, a CD distribution contract from a game store chain, and a windfall of youthful entrepreneurial confidence.
. Enters the University of Adelaide to study Pure Mathematics.
. Continues composing and producing multi-track tape recording experiments.
1993: Continues composing with tape experiments with time outside of university. Cochran reports in his memoir that equal time was spent between his formal mathematical studies and his self-guided composing pursuits.
1994: . Returns to piano lessons with increasing vigor, introduced to Gil Sullivan by original (pre-conservatorium) teacher Muriel Hopgood, to prepare for AMEB licenciate examination. This examination in Australia had a status of significant acclaim in the past and was not often passed, but since 2000 has been awarded increasingly more easily and has lost much of its acclaim.
. Composes a number of unpublished piano works, and the published piano work Prelude No. 2 originally titled "Silver Princess".
1995: . Graduates from University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Pure Mathematics majoring in Logic, with distinctions in the third year.
. Performs for the AMEB Licentiate Examination and awarded the Licenciate. Works performed were amongst the most difficult in the repertoire, Prokofiev's 7th Sonata (complete), Maurice Ravel's "Ondine", Rachmananov's Prelude Op 23. No. 7, Bach's Prelude and Fugure No. 10, Book 2.
. Co-founds a software development business with a friend and hires four employees, and whilst continuing this endeavour each year, the business does not turn a significant profit for another eight years (2003).
. Composes "Maelstrom", for piano forte.
. Main body of Zorya Vechernyaya is conceived, performed and multi-track tape recorded by Cochran using layers of guitars, mandolin, organ and flute.
1996: . Composes "Russian Toccata" for piano forte.
. Composes Prelude No. 3.
. Composes choral work "Zaratha" which is performed and recorded by the Flinders Street School of Music choir.
1997: . Composes "Maelstrom II" for piano forte and Piano Sonata No. 1 (3 movements). The first movement of the piano sonata makes pure use of the Octagonic Scale, which Julian discovers from the guitar and masters within his piano improvisations. This scale is subsequently used frequently in Cochran's works, such as "Artemis" Part 2 and "Tin Sentinel" (from "Animation Suite").
. Composes "Flydian Galop", part 4 of "Animation Suite"; the title refers to the Lidian scale, the first note of the work being "F".
. Records English Folk Song with a multi-track recorder in which Julian plays all instruments: Two recorders, mandolins, electric guitar, two shoes tapped on the floor (played with hands), timpani, bassoon, organ and sleigh bells.
. Composes piano work later adapted as 3rd movement of Artemis.
1998: . Composes "Zorya Vechernyaya" (2 movements) for string quartet, oboe and basoon, based on some of the tape recordings made in 1992-1994 period. The title translates from Russian as "Morning of the sun falling" and, other than the humorous contridiction, the work is said to be more deeply associated with the aethestic of sun's movement in the earliest minutes of the day and fairytales surrounding chariots pulling the sun.
. Composes "Artemis" (3 movements) for piano, oboe and violin.
. Public concert takes place at Elder Hall in Adelaide with small orchestra, Julian Cochran performing as the pianist and electric guitarist (English folk dance), with the following works by Cochran performed: Zorya Vechernaya, 2 movements - for string quartet, oboe and bassoon. Aertemis. Piano sonata No. 1, 3 movements. A recording remains from the concert. Posts advertisements flood Adelaide, five corporate sponsors were involved, an impressed audience of 300 attends but no reviewers. Audio recording of all concert exists.
1999: . Departs from the software business venture group that he founded but continues to act as an independent software developer requiring more time to compose.
. Composes "Tin Sentinel" (part 1 of Animation Suite).
. Composes "Fire Dance".
2000: Performs piano at public concert at Pilgrim Church, Adelaide. Included Cochran's Piano Sonata No. 1. Recorded and broadcast by Digital Scores, 5MBS and Radio Adelaide.
2001: Performs piano at public concert at Pilgrim Church, Adelaide. Included Ravel's Couperin Suite. Recorded and broadcast by Digital Scores, 5MBS and Radio Adelaide.
2003: . Independent Software Company founded by Cochran becomes quite profitable.
. Rehearses regularly with Russian Balalaika Orchestra giving 2 public concerts, Julian performs domre, bass balalika. This experience led to the composition of the first two Romanian Dances, composed with the accordion (all previous works were composed at the piano).
2004: . Composes Romanian Dances No. 1 and No. 2 from the accordion. Transcribes and publishes versions for piano forte.
. Composes "Matreshski" ("Wooden Dolls"), part 2 of Animation Suite.
. Pilgrim Church, Adelaide (3 concerts). Included Cochran Romanian Dances; Wooden Dolls; Tin Sentinel; Maelstrom and other works. Recorded and broadcast by Digital Scores, 5MBS and Radio Adelaide.
. Gives 4 concerts with Russian Balalaika Orchestra, Julian performs accordion, domre.
. Programmes and releases the computer game D-Zone II as a technical precursor and market test for a much more ambitious game project planned, but the slow pickup by the public of D-Zone II, compared to the first D-Zone, encourages Julian to concentrate more upon composing.
2005: . Composes Prelude No. 1.
. Composes and records the unpublished Symphony No. 1, a two-part 40 minute work, using a multi-track recorder, organs and electric guitar. Despite the intention of refining the work for symphony orchestra, the orchestration is put on hold and only the organ draft recording remains.
. Composes Mazurka 1.
. Performs at Pilgrim Church, Adelaide. Included Cochran Prelude in G minor (No. 1); Mazurka No. 1. Recorded and broadcast by Digital Scores, 5MBS and Radio Adelaide.
2006: . Independent software company starts to flourish and continues for the next seven years.
. Composes Piano Sonata No. 2 to a one-month schedule, commissioned by Site Specific Music.
. Composes Romanian Dances, Nos. 3 & 5 (piano forte).
. Composes Clockwork Doll (piano forte) which becomes the 3rd movement "Animation Suite".
. Composes Preludes, Nos. 4 & 5 (piano forte).
. Travels to New York to hear the US premier of Mazurka No. 1 performed by Gil Sullivan at Carnegie Hall. There is a standing ovation, an enthusiastic review by Sauter Pianos, but no media reviewers attend the concert.
. Gives public concert at Pilgrim Church, recorded and broadcast by Radio 5MBS.
2007: . Composes Romanian Dance No. 4 (piano forte).
. Composes Mazurka No. 2 (piano forte).
. Performs at Pilgrim Church, Adelaide. Recorded and broadcast by Digital Scores, 5MBS and Radio Adelaide.
2008: . Performs at Pilgrim Church, Adelaide. Included Piano Sonata No. 2. Recorded and broadcast by Digital Scores, 5MBS and Radio Adelaide.
. Composes Mazurka No. 3 (piano forte).
. Composes Fantasy ("Dagda's Harp") for piano forte.
2009: . Composes Prelude No. 6 (piano forte).
. Composes Mazurkas Nos. 4 & 5 (piano forte).
. Performs at Pilgrim Church, Adelaide. Included Piano Sonata No. 3, Prelude No. 6, Mazurka No. 2 and Mazurka No. 3. Recorded and broadcast by Digital Scores, 5MBS and Radio Adelaide.
2010: . Composes Preludes Nos. 7 & 8 (piano forte).
. Releases CD titled "Extracts" based on past public performances at Pilgrim Church. Works include Mazurkas Nos. 2 & 3, Romanian Dances Nos. 2 & 3. In Australia the CD is awarded by ABC FM both "CD of the Week" and "Featured Composer" and the CD is broadcasted twelve times nationally.
2011: . Gives public concert at Pilgrim Church, Adelaide. Included Russian Song, Mazurka No. 4, Mazurka No. 5, Scherzo No. 1, Scherzo No. 2, Prelude No. 7, Prelude No. 8. Filmed and recorded by Digital Scores. Recorded and broadcast by 5MBS and Radio Adelaide.
. Substantially modifies Mazurka No. 4.
. Records commercial CD at Elder Hall. The Elder Hall CD recording is professionally filmed and the filming is later made available to the public. The CD recording included Preludes 7-8, Mazurkas 1, 4 and 5 and Russian Song.
. Travels throughout Europe to observe Gil Sullivan performing Mazurkas Nos. 1-5 to large audiences at Amsterdman's Concertgebouw, Berlin's Konzerthaus and Brugges Concertgbeouw. The Brugges concert was filmed and the recording is available.
. Composes Scherzo No. 4.
2012: . Composes "Skazka" for piano forte.
. Composes Valse No. 1 for piano forte.
2013: . Reduces commitment to software company to allow more focus towards composing.
. Completes orchestration for symphony orchestra of Skazka and Russian Song early in the year which forms the first movement of Symphonic Tale.
. Substantially extends and polishes Scherzo No. 4 (Moderato), for piano forte, before completing its orchestration later in the year to form the 15 minute 4th movment of Symphonic Tale.
. Visits New York to hear Gil Sullivan perform Mazurkas Nos. 1-5 and Preludes 7-8 at Carnegie Hall. The audience gave the ovation between individual works, not allowing the full set to be played at once, and great attention is aroused. All 20 CDs that Julian had in his laptop case were signed and sold on the spot.
. Visits St Petersburg, Russia, and meets the conductor and director of Rimsky Korsakov music college who expresses interest to perform Symphonic Tale. Meets Anna Grachev who agrees to conduct public relations work in St Petersburg to assist introducing Cochran's music to Russia.
. Composes Scherzo No. 3 (Larghetto) for piano forte.
. Visits St Petersburg, Russia, in March to supervise the St Petersburg Youth Orchestra's performance of "Symphonic Tale" (the movements being "Skazka", "Russian Song" and Scherzo Moderato, conducted by Agadzhanyan Migran Rafaelevich at the Philharmonic Hall on 4 March. The concert is a great success with the public and requiring no major technical revisions. Also meets with conductor Kantorov who expresses great interest in performing "Symphonic Tale" with the Klassica Orchestra of Saint Petersburg.
. Extends Scherzo No. 3 (Larghetto) for piano forte and orchestrates the work as additional 11 minute movement for Symphonic Tale, taking the work to 44 minutes.
. Visits Warsaw to supervise performance of Symphonic Tale on 14 June with Pan-European Philharmonia conducted by Peter Tiboris. The public concert is filmed and the orchestra also records a commercial CD over two studio sessions without the audience.
. Jakub Fiebig founds the International Cochran Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland. The competition is the world's first to permit all competitors to upload their performance online, combined with a jury system that comprehensively removes herd behaviour and other psychological biases within the jury of traditional performance art competitions.
. Visits St Petersburg, Russia, in June to supervise State Symphony Orchestra of St Petersburg's performance of the four-movement version of Symphonic Tale on 17 June, conducted by Michael Chausovskiy, under the guidance of principle conductor Alexander Kantorov.
. Facebook page reaches 100,000 fans and becomes most followed Australian composer by social media.
. Visits St Petersburg, Russia, in September to supervise main State Symphony Orchestra of St Petersburg's performance of the complete Symphonic Tale conducted by Michael Chausovskiy, under the guidance of principle conductor Alexander Kantorov. Professional filming of the entire concert with 7 cameras.
. Assists Gil Sullivan's recording of CD of Cochran works at ABC studio in Adelaide, records complete Mazurkas, Prelude 7, 8.
. Composes Valse No. 2 and Romanian Dance No. 5, and the former Romanian Dance No. 5 (2006) is retitled Romanian Dance No. 6.
. 13 minute Documentary produced in Warsaw about Cochran including filmed interviews with Cochran and footage from Symphonic Tale concert.
. Edits all piano works for Warsaw-based 2015 Cochran Piano Competition; editing includes more detailed descriptions of dynamics.
2015: . Agrees to (conductor of Klassical orchesta in St. Petersburg) Alexander Kantarov's request to orchestrate a Waltz and Cochran orchestrates the piano transcription of his Valse No. 2. Visits St. Petersburg Russia in February to oversee rehearsals and performance of the Valse at Philharmonic Hall on 22 February to audience of 1,300.
. Stays in Russia during early March and composes orchestra version of Romanian Dances Nos. 1 & 4 and orchestrates Zorya Vechernyaya for chamber orchestra. The three works are performed on 22 March 2015 by the St. Petersburg Youth Orchestra.
. Concert given 24 March in St Petersburg with St. Petersburg Youth Orchestra performing orchestral version of Romanian Dances Nos. 1 & 4 and Zorya Vechernyaya.
. Composes orchestration of Valse No. 1.
. Conducting Masterclass takes place in St Petersburg 1-7 April using fourth movement of Cochran's Symphonic Tale. The six conductors each conduct the work and the best conductor is selected to conduct the work within a public concert on the final day of the masterclass, 7 April 2015.
. Composes orchestration of Fantasy ("Dagda's Harp").
. Visits St Petersburg, Russia, to assist St Petersburg Youth Orchestra's 7 June concert with Cochran's Valse No. 1, Valse No. 2. and Fantasy.
. Composes Prelude No. 9 (piano forte) in December.
. The first Cochran International Piano Competition takes place in Warsaw, with Svetlana Gololobova of Ukraine winning and having a CD recorded that includes Cochran's Prelude No. 8, Piano Sonata No. 1 and Maelstrom.
. St. Petersburg Youth Orchestra perform the Symphonic Tale conducted by Agadzhanyan Migran Rafaelevich, Dagda's Harp, Zorya Vechernyaya, and Two Valses, over 6 concerts at the White Hall of Politech University. The six concerts took place on the dates 18/10/15, 15/11/15, 13/12/15, 24/1/16 and 28/2/16; one of the concerts was filmed.
Reported to Cochran-Classical: Gil Sullivan records a CD at ABC Studios in Adelaide, with Cochran's Five Mazurkas, Preludes Nos. 7 & 8.
2016: . St. Petersburg Youth Orchestra perform Valse No. 1 & No. 2 at Sheremetevskiy Palace, conducted by Agadzhanyan Migran Rafaelevich.
. Composes "Goat's Dance" (piano forte) in August whilst in Melbourne. The work forms part 1 of "Animal Scenes".
. 4th August, St. Petersburg Youth Orchestra perform Cochran Valse No. 1 & No. 2 in Spain, conducted by Jesus Naveira. Concert hall: Alicante auditorium. Performance filmed.
. Composes Prelude No. 10 (piano forte) in August whilst in Melbourne.
Reported to Cochran-Classical: Sinziana Mircea performs complete Romanian Dances at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, England.
. Composes "Pegasus' Travels, Part 1" (piano forte) in September.
. Travels to Ukraine and Poland to give masterclasses on composition in Kiev and Katowice and support four concerts Svetlana Gololobova performing Preludes 1, 2 & 8, Malestrom and Sonata No. 1.
. Composes orchestration of Romanian Dance No. 2 whilst in Warsaw, followed by orchestrating No. 3. and No. 5. whilst in Adelaide.
. Produces and releases CD, "Symphonic Tale", combining studio and concert recordings made during 2014.
. Revises trio for violin, cor anglais and piano ("Artemis"), plus trio for violin, cor anglais and harp ("Artemis"). Among the changes, the oboe was replaced with cor anglais and two separate versions were produced, one with harp and one with piano.
2017: . Adapts seven works for concert harp: Preludes Nos. 1, 2, 4 & 8, Nocturne and Valses Nos. 1 & 2. "Nocturne" was the original title of the second movement of the first piano sonata.
Reported to Cochran-Classical: Elizaveta Mazalova performs Cochran's complete Mazurkas on 10th of January in the house-library of Losev (Russian philosopher) in Moscow, Russia.
. Composes orchestration of Romanian Dance No. 6 in Adelaide.
. Composes "Butterfly's Ritual" for piano forte. The work forms part 2 of "Animal Scenes".
. Releases to the public the commercial filming of "Symphonic Tale" performed by Pan European Philharmonia in Warsaw, Poland in 2014.
. Reported to Cochran-Classical: Julian Cochran's first piano teacher, Muriel Hopgood, passes away. Muriel Hopgood taught Julian from the very start, aged eleven until fourteen, with weekly lessons involving 20 minutes of theory and 40 minutes at the piano. Muriel Hopgood frequently explained to Julian's father that he was musical to an extraordary extent. Julian left Muriel's teaching, the only pianist from Adelaide that year receiving a scholarship to the Elder Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide, at the age of 14.
. Composes "Pegasus' Travels Part 2" whilst in Adelaide, the main subject with descending chromantic left hand conceived whilst in Kharkiv during 2016.
. Composes "Pegasus' Travels Part 3" during first visit to Monaco.
. Visits Warsaw in October 2017 to give philosophy talks to business executives; one of the talks, which included an improvisation at the piano, filmed by Siemens. Cochran also attends the concert at Warsaw Philharmonic Hall in which the 2015 winner of the Cochran International Piano Competition, Piotr Grelowski, performs Preludes Nos. 4-6 and Piano Sonata No. 2.
2018: . Composes "Pegasus' Travels Part 4" for piano forte in Adelaide.
. Composes "Kitten Chasing its Tail" for piano forte, in Adelaide, which forms part 3 of "Animal Scenes". To illustrate the relative attention placed towards the latter two works, "Kitten Chasing its Tail" was written over merely two days from the spontaneous conception to the final published form, whilst "Pegasus' Travels Part 4" was worked upon for more than six months with many of the subjects conceived two years earlier.
. Visits Japan 29-31 March and is filmed for a programme by NHK TV about Yukiko Hinami's first prize in the 2016 International Cochran Piano Competition. Julian gives instruction at the piano for Yukiko over two days in support of her upcoming concerts and CD recording.
. Visits Yalta for the "Crimean Spring Festival" on 17 April with 500 competiting musicians visiting from all over Russia. Julian Cochran was showcased for the year's festival; "Valse No. 2" is performed at the festival's grand opening by the Yalta Symphony Orchestra. Cochran is appointmented as head the jury for the soloist with orchestra competition category at the festival, interviewed on Yalta TV and gives filmed masterclass.
. Composes "Courante" for piano forte upon returning to Monaco.
. Revises "Flydian Galop" whilst in Monaco.
. Composes "Minuet" for piano forte in Monaco.
. Migran Agadzhanyan conducts the St. Petersburg State Youth Orchestra to perform Julian Cochran's complete collection of six Romanian Dances at the Palace of the Grand Duke Vladimir in St. Petersburg, 7 August 2018. Performance filmed with 3 cameras.
. Revises Romanian Dances No. 1 (both piano and orchestral verion) whilst in Monaco, incorporating lydian harmonies.
. "Dagda's Harp" second edition performed and filmed on 9 November at Yaani Kirik concert hall in St. Petersburg with Migran Agadzhanyan conducting the St. Petersburg State Youth Orchestra.
2019: . Composes the large work "Pegasus' Travels Part 5", completing the five-part piano cycle of "Pegasus' Travels". The bulk of the work was composed over 11 months during 2018 in parallel with the other compositions that year, and completed in February 2019.
. Records "Pegasus' Travels Part 5" at Elder Hall.
. Visits Yalta, Crimea, as Guest of Honor and Head of Jury for the "Crimean Spring" music festival. At the grand opening concert, orchestra performs "Russian Song" and "Romanian Dance No. 5" at the opening festival, and Elizaveta Garbuzova performs Pegasus Travels Part 1, to audience of 1,000. Many of Cochrans works are performed in the piano competition throughout the festival and Cochran gives a masterclass. Pegasus Travels Part 2 performed by first placed pianist at closing concert.
. Composes Prelude No. 11 for piano forte in Yalta.
. Composed Forlana for piano forte in Monaco.
Visit the Sheet Music Archive for Cochran's sheet music in PDF format or professional edition booklets.