Coral Douglas (b. 1999, they/them) is a composer and multi-instrumentalist whose work is interested in theatricality, gesture, semiotic dimensions, and the attention economy.

Douglas’ compositions span the mediums of music, drama, digital production, movement, and humor. The resulting works seek to dismantle formal conventions by emphasizing the broad roles of expectation and familiarity. Coral values composer-performer collaboration highly, which allows for collective creativity and a candid, feedback-informed process.

Coral’s music has been played by ensembles and soloists such as TAK Ensemble, loadbang, the Rhythm Method, the Trace Chamber Society, Dawn Upshaw, Louis Raymond-Kolker, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. Douglas has had their music performed in spaces such as the Darmstadt Festival, Lucerne Festival, Vienna Summer Music Festival, the Washington State University Festival of Contemporary Art Music, and the MMRC/MARC Festival at the University of Kansas. Douglas is the recipient of the 2023 Pauline Oliveros New Genre Prize, Honorable Mention, as well as a runner-up for the NYYS 2022 Commission. Douglas was awarded the Ida M. Vreeland Award in Music in 2022.

Beyond composition, Coral is active as a photographer, songwriter, and visual artist. They have served as a youth choral conductor and private lesson teacher, and they firmly believe in the necessity of diverse, engaging music education.

Coral is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in Composition from Cornell University. Coral holds an M.M in Music Composition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a B.M. in Composition and Audio Engineering from LaGrange College. Coral has received instruction from Elizabeth Ogonek, Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri, Greg Simon, Marcos Balter, Oliver Weber, and Tyshawn Sorey.

Artist Statement:

From what I’ve gathered, I think there are 2 types of artist statements: those that proclaim “it is!” and those that ask “is it?”

I personally find the latter more appealing. It’s rewarding to create a self-contained piece which serves as the method by which to consider its purpose, which simultaneously must be accessible to any listener. The creative balancing act occurs when the artist withholds the implications of an obvious answer.

I believe this inspires me to prioritize creativity and fun, while striving for truly innovative frameworks. Since music is simultaneously an art of metaphors and literals, it is my joy to compose, accepting the role of semiotic/stylistic jester. My project is to question associations, foster coexistence, and to find the aesthetic euphoria of stylized gesture between the outer limits of time.

In my work, I specifically aim to question narrative, style, and tension through drama. I believe truths can be understood through contradictions. I also believe that using technology can help achieve new surrealisms. More than anything, I believe that, as artists, we are given the immense political, aesthetic, and scientific opportunity to ask relevant, enlightening, meaningful, and deeply human questions.