Keys to success

Pianist Amy Cottingham can be heard tickling the ivories all over Tulsa.



Amy Cottingham performs regularly at several Tulsa venues. She plans to release an album this spring.

Mention musician Amy Cottingham’s name and most people automatically think, “She’s the jazz lady.”

After all, Cottingham has made a name for herself as a regular performer at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, the Signature Symphony and Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

But the down-to-earth, award-winning pianist also is a composer, music transcriber, arranger, orchestra conductor, teacher and recording artist. She is recording her most recent compositions and plans to release an album this spring.

TulsaPeople recently visited with Cottingham to find out how she keeps up her dizzying musical balancing act. 

You began your music studies at a young age. Tell us about that.

Even though my mother put me in violin and piano lessons at the age of 3, she had to stay on top of me to practice every day until I was 11 or 12 years old. At that point, she says I came to her one day and announced three things: that she would no longer have to make me practice, that I was going to be very good at the piano and that I had chosen to no longer be shy. The main thing that gave me the vision to carry this through was all the concerts and performances Mom took me to growing up. I started thinking, concert after concert, “I can do that. I want to do that. I must do that.”

How old were you when you composed your first song?

I was 14 when I composed my first song, although I (had) arranged music since the age of 11. My first composition was for solo piano, entitled “The Dawning of a New Day.” I named it that because I knew I was entering the world of composing.

As a musician, which talent do you consider most challenging?

Transcribing is the easiest thing for me, and fun. Arranging can be fun but mostly just leaves me wanting to compose my own music instead of arranging other people’s music. Conducting came naturally in some ways, but (I) had a huge learning curve when it came to issues of confidence, efficiency, leadership and preparation.

Composition in some ways is the most difficult and challenging thing I do because it requires the entirety of my attention, my heart and soul, my silence, honesty, surrender, discipline. It is also the most fulfilling, humbling, exciting process. Creating music asks everything of me, and gives me the whole world in return.    

What about teaching?

Teaching is amazing. I love my students dearly. It is a privilege to be able to work with people one on one on a weekly basis, in my home, developing relationships with them and their families over the years, and to watch them grow. It’s fun, it’s real, it’s humbling. 

How and when did you meet British vocalist Chris Middlebrook, and how has that experience shaped your career? 

I have worked with Chris Middlebrook for five or six years now. He’s a blast; extremely creative and talented. We perform at a variety of events, mainly from the musical repertoire. I also collaborate with violinist Michelle Sherman for weddings and violinist Ronnamarie Jensen for tango dances.

Where can Tulsans catch you performing jazz during the holidays and in early 2014? 

I perform jazz, classical, tangos, rags, popular music and original pieces mainly at private parties, corporate events, arts events, weddings, receptions and at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. ... They have concerts every Sunday, featuring local musicians as well as touring artists.

Editor’s note: Interview condensed and edited.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Gliding to war

Guest essayist Lt. Col. Frank Slane recounts a harrowing flight mission into enemy territory during WWII.

Aging in place

Giving up their homes is a difficult decision for seniors, but many thrive in the right living environment.

My perfect weekend: Winston Peraza

Vice president/chief creative officer, Cubic Inc.
Edit Module

Add your comment:

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

August 2018

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

FlyingTee is fun for the whole family and on Sundays, kids eat free! *Limit one free meal from the kids’ menu with each purchase of an adult entrée. Not valid on brunches or holidays.

Cost: Free with purchase

Where:
FlyingTee
600 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-528-7717
Website »

More information

At the 16th annual Senior Star Round-Up, older adults will enjoy live music, dancing, refreshments and door prizes as they gather at the legendary Cain's Ballroom on August 12 from 2 - 5...

Cost: $10

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 N. Main St.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: LIFE Senior Services
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

 The Mabee Center will come alive in a colorful expression of dance, drum music and song as members of tribal nations from around the country gather to honor, strengthen and share traditions...

Cost: $7-$15

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Struggling young playwright William Shakespeare, penniless and indebted to two demanding producers, is tormented by writer’s block until he meets the beautiful Viola de Lesseps, daughter of a...

Cost: $20

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: 918-596-7111
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Hues for HOPE will include original art created by Oklahoma artists as well as art created by families around the world impacted by peroxisomal disorders. The evening will consist of...

Cost: $75.00

Where:
The Pearl District Building
1209 E 3rd St
Ste 181
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Global Foundation for Peroxisomal Disorders
Telephone: 817-874-9609
Contact Name: Ashlee Cabrera
Website »

More information

Starting 2nd and 4th Tuesdays in August and through September, we're teaching a progressive lindy hop swing dance series! Come learn from Kasey and Laurel, some of the best lindy hop...

Cost: Lesson: $12 Social Dance: FREE

Where:
Willows Family Ales
418 S. Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Barrelhouse Swing

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Where:
Mulligan's Sports & Spirits
10918 E 41st St
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Oklahomans for Equality announces a new musical cabaret series: “Third Thursdays in the Rainbow Room. Each Third Thursday of the month will feature one of Tulsa’s finest musical...

Cost: $15 Bistro Seating / $10 G/A

Where:
Dennis R Neill Equality Center
621 East 4th
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahomans for Equality
Telephone: 918-637-2866
Contact Name: Pat Hobbs

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Eclectic Disposition aka "DJECOG" hosts A monthly all styles dance event at the Boxyard. ​This 18+ event caters to many of the social dance scenes in Tulsa. if you are...

Cost: free

Where:
the boxyard
502 East 3rd Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: eclectic disposition
Telephone: (918)640-1119
Contact Name: Matthew Adams
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Muskogee War Memorial Park: Home of the USS Batfish, Oklahoma’s only submarine, is hosting its annual Living History Day: Summer Cruise! For the USS Batfish Living History Day, the...

Cost: $4-$7

Where:
Muskogee War Memorial Park
3500 Batfish Road
Muskogee, OK
View map »


Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

As the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is ready to celebrate National Fajita Day with a week-long fiesta starting on Mon., Aug. 13...

Cost: $19.99

Where:
On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
8702 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK  74133
View map »


Contact Name: Jessica Chacoff

More information

Amanda McCavour’s ethereal environments explore themes of strength and vulnerability. Through the use of embroidery, McCavour’s delicate creations will highlight the process of building...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E M.B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Join us for our first ever Food Truck Frenzy event! We will have a variety of delicious food trucks located in our own back yard. Grub down while listening to the band Moonshine...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Telephone: 918-528-1507
Contact Name: Liz Medrano
Website »

More information

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

Roughneck Roller Derby vs Northwest Arkansas Rollergirls Don't miss out on this family-friendly, hard-hitting fun! Kids 12 and under FREE!! Tickets: Advance - $8 At the Door - $10...

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Ninowski Recreation Center
1367 E 71st St S
Broken Arrow, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: Roughneck Roller Derby
Website »

More information

If the Oklahoma summer has you turning into a puddle inside your shoes, then beat the heat and chill out with the coolest comedy improv troupe in town! Come join our biggest fans (ceiling) in...

Cost: Admission is $8.00 ($4.00 for children under 12)

Where:
PH Community House
306 South Phoenix Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
Website »

More information

Eclectic Disposition aka "DJECOG" hosts A monthly all styles dance event at the Boxyard. ​This 18+ event caters to many of the social dance scenes in Tulsa. if you are...

Cost: free

Where:
the boxyard
502 East 3rd Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: eclectic disposition
Telephone: (918)640-1119
Contact Name: Matthew Adams
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

TULtalk


Episode 2: Michael Broyles with Raise Your Voice!

Tulsa Opera's Raise Your Voice! program creates before- and after-school choir opportunities at public schools which no longer offer vocal music during the school day.

Comments

The decal on my car doesn’t scream ‘athlete’

Despite this, my 5-year-old daughter and I still managed to complete the Tess Trail Run benefiting the Tristesse Grief Center.

Comments

Video: Tulsa Girls Art School

Comments

Things to do in Tulsa in August

Everything from arena concerts to sand volleyball and local theater for your entertainment this month.

Comments

Staying Power

Why six alums of City Year and Teach for America now call Tulsa home

Comments