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Dr. Jonovan Cooper, a native of Windsor, NC USA, is an Assistant Professor of Music at Yared School of Music, Addis Ababa University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
DR. JONOVAN THOMARCAS COOPER Dr. Jonovan Cooper, a native of Windsor, NC USA, started playing music while in Kindergarten where his mother introduced him to the keyboard. Using the keyboard (organ) that she bought for him, he practiced and began making appearances in his local church playing and singing. He later began taking piano lessons and when he became old enough, he joined his school band. That’s when he picked up the saxophone, which became his instrument of choice. Despite an accident in the 8th grade that almost ended his career before it even started, he kept pursuing his dreams of playing professionally. He played throughout high school, studied Jazz at North Carolina Central University, Music Education at Norfolk State University and Saxophone Performance at The American Conservatory of Music. He thus acquired his BM, MM and DMA degrees and even studied Business Administration at American Intercontinental University where he received his MBA. Jonovan was a member of the US Navy where he was stationed in the Atlantic Fleet Band in Norfolk, VA. There he lived for about six years also playing in local bands including “Right On Band,” a seventies show band well known throughout the US and countries around the world (including Ethiopia) and his own jazz quintet. He also volunteered in the music ministry at his local church, “Calvary Revival Church” in Norfolk. Later Jonovan moved to Orangeburg, SC after being hired as an Assistant Professor of Music Industry at South Carolina State University. There he also served as assistant band director and director of the university jazz ensembles (both vocal jazz and instrumental jazz ensembles). He taught there for four years before leaving for Ethiopia in 2009. After his initial move, Jonovan somehow found himself sailing around the world playing on cruise ships for Princess Cruises where he managed to perform on and around six of the seven continents within a time span of less than two years. Finally in 2011, Jonovan settled in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he taught music at a local international school and at a seminary school in the city. He also kept a heavy performance schedule throughout the city while taking care to learn the local music and giving it its due respect. He was so intrigued by Ethiopian music from the beginning that he made it a point to learn and write new compositions solely around the modes and rhythms of the country. Now Jonovan ministers through music at Beza International Church where he directs the music department. He also is an Assistant Professor of Music at Yared School of Music, Addis Ababa University and teaches at Jazzamba School of Music. In spite of all the teaching and music directing, Jonovan still manages to study the music of Ethiopia and has managed to record his first project under his own name, “Suite Abyssinia," which features various rhythms and modes of Ethiopia.