As a classical pianist, Rory Cowal’s repertoire spans the breadth of the American avant-garde. In addition to classic works by composers such as John Cage and Johanna Beyer, he has performed numerous premieres, including pieces by Muhal Richard Abrams, Kris Davis, and Larry Polansky. His 2018 album, “Clusters: Piano Explorations” (New World Records) received an enthusiastic review in the New York Times and one track was also selected for the Times’ 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2018. As a jazz pianist, he has performed at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Angel City Jazz Festival, Jazz at LACMA, JazzPOP, Harlem in the Himalayas, and other festivals and clubs throughout the United States and Canada. His jazz quartet, Slumgum, has released four albums and won the 2013 CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.
Cowal holds a B.M. degree in Classical Performance from the University of Maryland at College Park (2004) and an MFA degree in Jazz Performance from the California Institute of the Arts (2008). Cowal has also studied Balinese gamelan (as a member of Gamelan Tunas Mekar and Gamelan Burat Wangi) and Ewe drumming (at CalArts and as a member of Adanu Habobo). He currently lives in Portland, OR.
Deena Grossman. Wildfires and Waterways. Moonbridge, 2022.
Rory Cowal. Clusters: American Piano Explorations. New World Records, 2018.
Larry Polansky. Three Pieces for Two Pianos. New World Records, 2016.
Trevor Anderies. Shades of Truth. Nine Winds, 2013.
Daniel Rosenboom Septet. Unsayable Absence. Daniel Rosenboom Music, 2013.
Slumgum featuring Hugh Ragin. The Sky His Own. Nine Winds, 2012.
Slumgum. Quardboard Flavored Fiber. Accretions, 2011.
Premasoul. A Shrine to All Things EP. Premasoul, 2009.
Slumgum. Slumgum. Slumgum, 2008.
Clinton Patterson. From a Dream. Clinton Patterson, 2008.
Celestial Sliphorns. Planisphere. Sea Breeze Jazz, 2008.
CalArts. Jazz 2008. Capitol Records, 2008.
CalArts. Jazz 2007. Capitol Records, 2007.