Indiana University has named Tyron Cooper director of the Archives of African American Music and Culture in Bloomington. He is a three-time Emmy Award winner. Cooper, who serves as a faculty member in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, will officially begin his role as director January 1. He follows in the footstep of his mentor, Mellonee Burnim, the most recent archive director and an IU professor of folklore and ethnomusicology.
In the past, Cooper has served the archives as a research associate and as a Ph.D. graduate assistant. He earned his master’s degree in jazz studies and his doctoral degree in ethnomusicology from IU. His research is in black gospel and black popular music, with an emphasis on live recording productions, religious belief and identity, and performance practice. He also directed the IU Soul Revue for several years.
Founded in 1991 by Portia Maultsby, the Laura Bolton Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology, the Archives of African American Music and Culture is a repository of recordings and other materials related to various African-American musical genres and cultural expressions from the post-World War II era. The archives house original recordings, albums, interviews, photographs, manuscripts and other primary resources important to the history and development of some of the 20th century’s most prominent musical styles, such as blues, gospel, R&B and hip-hop. They include a number of Special Collections, such as the Portia K. Maultsby Collection, which features interviews and other archival materials collected by Maultsby throughout her career as one of the earliest scholars of 20th-century African-American music.
Cooper has extensive experience and expertise in arts and culture stemming from decades of participation in recordings and live performances as music director, guitarist, vocalist, composer and arranger for national secular and religious artists. Since 2012, he has been nominated for six Emmy Awards and has won three. His most recent Emmy Award was for talent and composition for the film "Attucks: The School That Opened a City," which was featured in the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.