Emil de Cou

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Emil Anthony de Cou
Emil de Cou at Wolf Trap 2013.png
Emil de Cou, Conductor
Background information
Born Los Angeles, California
Occupation(s) Conductor, arranger, writer
Instruments Horn, piano
Years active 1982 - present

Emil de Cou is an American conductor who became associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra (John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) in September 2003.[citation needed] He has led the orchestra on residency tours in five states, in subscription concerts at the Kennedy Center and on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol Building. In 2005 de Cou was named NSO at Wolf Trap Festival Conductor and will start his 12th season with that organization in the summer of 2016. He was appointed the music director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet starting with the 2011-2012 season.[citation needed] In 2013, he was described by New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay to be "probably...America’s finest ballet conductor."[1]

Emil de Cou also acts as musical advisor to NASA. This has led to De Cou being nicknamed the "Principal Air & Space Conductor" by a critic at WETA-FM radio station.[2][not in citation given][citation needed] De Cou is a resident of San Francisco where he was Principal Pops Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and acting music director of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.

De Cou has recorded extensively including world premiere recordings of Claude Debussy's original version of Printemps Suite Symphonique, the orchestral version of Suite Bergamasque, Charles Griffes's The Kairn of Koridwen, and Elliot Goldenthal's Othello (ballet).


For his ongoing work with NASA de Cou was awarded the agency's Exceptional Public Achievement Medal by Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. at the NSO @ Wolf Trap performance of The Planets in July 2012, the first musician to receive that honor.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Macaulay, Alastair (17 February 2013). "Performers From the West Coast Serve Up Balanchine". New York Times. New York, United States. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Laurson, Jens F. "July in Music", Classical WETA 90.9 FM website, Wednesday, 16 June 2010, accessed 26 July 2010

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