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 Fuller Up, The Dead Musician Directory
Tom Cora
Tom Cora
 MelanomaApril 9, 1998
Age 44
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New York Times, Tuesday, April 14, 1998 

Tom Cora, 44, New-Music Cellist With Flair for the Avant-Garde Tom Cora, a cellist, composer and improviser who was a mainstay of the new-music scene in New York City, died on Thursday at a hospital in Draguignam, in the south of France, where he lived with his wife and son. He was 44. 

The cause was melanoma, said his brother, Henry Corra. 

Mr. Cora, whose original surname was Corra, grew up in Richmond and took up the cello while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. He studied under the vibraphonist Karl Berger at Creative Music Studios in Woodstock, N.Y., when 
came to New York City in 1979. It was a ripe and chaotic moment for improvised music in Manhattan, well before the Knitting Factory provided a frequent venue for musicians like Mr. Cora, who were influenced by progressive rock, jazz and avant-garde 
composition and who were able to consolidate absurdist humor and structuralist thinking in the same composition. 

Mr. Cora fell into a circle that included John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Andrea Centazzo, Butch Morris and Fred Firth, and he became known for highly amplifying his cello and for playing sawed chords and percussive riffs on it as if it were an electric guitar. Best known as part of the long-running band Curlew, he also played with the groups Skeleton Crew and Third Person, and collaborated with the Dutch anarchist rock band The Ex.

 
 
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A longtime fixture of the New York City downtown music scene, cellist, composer and improviser 
 Tom Cora was best known in avant-jazz circles, although his eclectic pursuits led him in a wide 
 variety of musical directions. 

Raised in Richmond, Virginia, Cora began studying cello while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, later honing his craft under the tutelage of vibraphonist Karl Berger. His 1979 arrival in New York City coincided with the emergence of a new and fertile era for experimental music, and he quickly fell into a circle of like-minded artists which included John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Andrea Centazzo, Butch Morris and Fred Frith; influenced by progressive rock, jazz, and avant-garde composition, Cora developed a distinctive style, playing guitar-like sawed chords and percussive riffs while amplifying his cello for maximum noise power. 

A mainstay at the famed Knitting Factory club, he was a member of the group Curlew, and also collaborated with the Dutch anarchist rock band the Ex on a pair of LPs, 1991's Scrabbling at the Lock and 1993's And the Weathermen Shrug Their Shoulders. After suffering from melanoma, Cora died in the south of France on April 9, 1998 at the age of 44. One month later, a benefit concert was held at the Knitting Factory with appearances by Fred Frith, George Cartwright and Zeena Parkins. 

-- Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide
 
 
  
 
 

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Etymology
WNUR Discography
Knitting Factory
Jazz Red Bio en espanol
Tom Cora & Hakim Hamadouche in German
 
 
 

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