Estar Cohen

ASCAP Foundation 2018 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer

Estar Cohen is a vocalist, lyricist, composer, and educator based out of Ypsilanti, MI. She has performed alongside renowned musicians including Jon Hendricks, Peter Eldridge, Tad Weed, Pete Siers, David Bixler, Vinny Golia, and Ken Filiano, among others. Estar graduated with a bachelor of music in Jazz Performance from the University of Toledo in 2015 where she studied voice, improvisation, and composition with pianist Tad Weed, guitarist Jay Weik, and “father of vocalese” Jon Hendricks who has called her lyrics “beautiful.” Some highlights over the course of those four years include recording her first album Waiting For Dawn, lyricizing the instrumental pieces of late jazz pianist, Herbie Nichols, for Tad Weed’s Freedom Ensemble, putting on clinics and concerts with her jazz quintet Talking Ear at numerous Southern Michigan Universities, and exploring the art of free improvisation and improvised poetry with Jay Weik. In 2015, she was chosen as a finalist in the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards and in 2014, was given the Craig’s Keyboard Student Composer Award for her original vocal ensemble composition, The Day The Government Shut Down.

Since her graduation, she has traveled as a performer and educator throughout the Midwest and in major cities including New York and Chicago. Notable performances have included New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall, Earthwork Harvest Gathering, the Toledo Museum of Art, Ann Arbor’s Edgefest at Kerrytown Concert House, and Michigan’s River Street Anthology Project. In 2018, she was given the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award for her piece, “Endings,” off of her second album, Live at Willis Sound.

Estar is an avid writer, penning lyrics for Midwest jazz artists including Tad Weed, Travis Aukerman, Dan Palmer, and Benjamin Maloney. Her poetry has been published in Ohio Anthology, Bards Again 2016, and in Khroma Magazine. As an educator, Estar has taught songwriting with Michigan label Earthwork Music in partnership with the non-profit SEEDS, and is a private music instructor in the Ann Arbor area.

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