TitleLindsay Cooper Archive
DescriptionThe collection contains Lindsay Cooper’s personal papers, works and associated materials. This includes autobiographical writing, including diaries (1950s - 1994) which detail her daily life, living with multiple sclerosis and her relationships with women. Alongside this are material relating to her early life and family history. It also includes musical scores, notebooks, photographs, correspondence, ephemera directly and indirectly related to her music career and life within the jazz and progressive rock scene. The collection also contains a diverse variety of audio visual material, both commercial studio and live recordings, both written by Cooper or featuring her, which have been digitised.
AdminHistoryLindsay Cooper (3 March 1951 - 18 September 2013) a bassoon and oboe player, composer and political activist, was born in Hornsey, London. Renowned as a talented improviser and respected composer she played in bands such as Comus, Henry Cow and co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group (FIG).

Cooper began her musical training at the age of 11 with the piano moving onto the bassoon a few years later. Described by a tutor as ‘a true musician, with a vital personality’ she studied classical music and the bassoon at the Dartington College of Arts and the Royal College of Music between 1965 and 1968. Succeeding this, Cooper spent a year in New York during which time she became involved in projects outside the realm of classical music. On her return to England, Cooper realigned herself from classical pursuits to traverse the worlds of popular music, experimental jazz and progressive rock earning a name as an influential improviser and a multifaceted musician. A written statement outlines her views, ‘Women have always had to think on our feet, make things up as we go along, work outside of the established way of doing things and, whenever we’ve decided to take the chance, stick our necks right out’ as a vocal activist for women's rights. Well known for her part in bands such as Comus, Henry Cow and News from Babel, Cooper also co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group (FIG) with Sally Potter, Maggie Nichols, Georgie Born and Irène Schweizer in 1977.

Cooper wrote and performed TV scores including Sally Potter’s feature film The Gold Diggers which she released as a solo album in 1983 followed by Music for Other Occasions in 1986. She regularly played with the Marx Brothers, News from Babel and the Mike Westbrook Big Band and her song cycle Oh Moscow, inspired by the Cold War was performed live around the world from 1987 and recorded live at the 1989 Victoriaville festival in Canada.

The late 1990s saw Cooper’s retirement from performing and composing, having lived with multiple sclerosis since the late 1970s she was no longer able to work or play. Concealing her illness until 1998 from friends, colleagues and the wider community, she went public with her diagnosis with a piece in the Guardian named ‘Don't Cry for Me’ later that year. Lindsay Cooper died from the illness in 2013 at the age of 62.
CustodialHistoryDonated to UAL ASCC by Jessica Palmarozza of Adventure Pictures Ltd.
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