Artist-in-Residence in Collaborative Piano, School of Music
Judy Cole is considered by local area colleagues to be one of the most versatile pianists and accompanists in the Atlanta commercial music scene. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying with Marvin Blickenstaff.
After taking a year off from school, during which she toured the United States playing in a show band, she was invited to attend the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she earned her Master of Music degree in Accompanying, with a concentration in Musical Theatre and Chamber Music. Her teachers included Olga Radosavlovich at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Dr. Robert Evans, Babbette Effron and Dr. Kelly Hale at CCM.
Here at KSU, Mrs. Cole teaches academic classes in music theory, coaches Opera and Musical Theatre, musically directs for the Theatre and Performance Studies division of COTA, and accompanies both faculty and student recitals. As often as scheduling allows, she plays in the pit orchestra for Broadway touring shows playing at the Fox Theatre. She has also been selected by the Educational Testing Service to serve as an Aural Skills Reader for the national Advanced Placement Music Theory exams for several years.
Mrs. Cole has worked professionally and made a successful career over the last 30 years as a free-lance pianist and commercial musician playing in a variety of settings. To quote J. Lynn Thompson, founding Artistic Director of the Atlanta Lyric Opera, "Judy Cole is one of those rare artists who can move effortlessly between styles ranging from opera to Broadway, jazz to rock and roll. She is a conductor's and singer's dream of a pianist." Mrs. Cole has been featured on numerous recordings both as an accompanist and as a soloist, including her own CD "By Request,"and has several solo recordings in process at this time.
In addition to local performances, Mrs. Cole travels routinely to accompany classical, instrumental, vocal, and religious Jewish music concerts throughout the US where she is known for her ability to arrive, rehearse and perform demanding concert material all within a span of several hours. She has collaborated with many of the top Cantors and musicians in the Jewish music world, including Hazzan Naftali Herstik, Cantor Asher Hainovitz, Simon Sargon, Bonia Shur, Michael Isaacson, and Debbie Friedman. Judy is a member of the Guild of Temple Musicians (the national organization of Jewish musicians and composers), the American Federation of Musicians, and the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance. She is the staff accompanist at The Temple in Atlanta and is still an active commercial musician, playing both as a soloist and as a keyboardist/vocalist in her band.
Judy is a mom to daughters Katy and Rebekah, their husbands Mike and Richard, an ecstatic grand mother to Charlotte, and is happily married to Cantor Herb Cole.