Jecorey "1200" Arthur is an award-winning music educator, composer, percussionist, hip hop artist, producer and community organizer from the West End of Louisville, KY. He is currently the Music Education Manager for 90.5 WUOL Classical Louisville at Louisville Public Media, Professor of Percussion Studies at Simmons College of Kentucky, a member of the IMAN Artist Roster, endorsed by Salyers Percussion, and serves as the Executive Director for Athiri, a nonprofit he founded to fund, produce, and support social justice art.
1200 earned his Bachelor's of Music Education and Master's of Arts in Teaching in Music Education by age 22 while studying percussion with Dr. Greg Byrne at the University of Louisville. During college he taught private lessons, drumlines, and workshops to thousands of students in his region. He was also the Program Director for the Academy of Music Production Education and Development (AMPED), where he established curriculum for the after-school program to help at-risk youth learn the art of writing, producing, recording, and performing music. Following graduate school, 1200 taught general music in Jefferson County Public Schools at Hite Elementary, where he also directed the world renown Junkyard Hawks Percussion Ensemble and founded the Hite Jam Band, now popularly referred to as modern band in the general music world. Since earning his teaching certification he has facilitated workshops for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana, Cabbage Patch Settlement House, Uspiritus, and many other youth organizations. He has also taught young adults in college including Arts and Festival Management majors visiting the U.S. from De Montfort University in the United Kingdom. During the cultural exchange Professor Tony Graves, Head of Subject and Principal Lecturer described 1200’s teaching skills by saying “His knowledge of what it takes to deliver an exciting arts project and his ability to communicate this effectively and with such generosity of spirit to our students was extremely impressive, stemming from his own multidisciplinary creative skills and experience.” In the spring of 2018, 1200 began teaching percussion at Simmons College of Kentucky, one of only two HBCUs in the state. At this time 1200 also began working as the Music Education Manager at Louisville Public Media, a position where he impacts 5,500+ students annually through hands-on music classes, family events, donating instruments, and providing resources to music teachers.
Not one to be limited by convention, 1200 is uniquely known as the world's one and only hip hop artist who is also an active classical musician. LEO Weekly describes him as “an uncompromising artist who balances activism, light-heartedness, intense performance, and bass-heavy bangers — a sense of surrealism accessible to all." His musical journey started at age twelve when his love of hip hop led him to purchase a KORG D-1200 and become a self-taught songwriter, producer, and recording artist. Since then he has released several projects, including his EP, Symphony I, double soundtrack Seance | Spirit, and countless collaborations available on all streaming platforms. 1200 has also composed theme music for the 92nd Street Y, work for Northeast Christian Church, percussion ensemble repertoire for River City Drum Corp’s debut album, pieces for the Junkyard Hawks Percussion Ensemble, an original score for the feature-film Death is but a Dream, and a jingle for the Kentucky Derby Festival. In fall 2018 he remixed, recomposed, and reimagined the musical, the Ugly Duckling, in collaboration with Commonwealth Theater Center, as their Music Director. The production toured and performed for over 20,000 students and their teachers.
During his undergraduate studies 1200 premiered countless works and performed with the University Percussion Ensemble, Steel Drum Band, Drumline, Marching Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra, Chorus, Chorale, Cardinal Singers, over 30 other student-led chamber ensembles, and the University Wind Symphony, which granted him the opportunity to perform in Interlaken Switzerland for the 2013 Jungfrau Music Festival. 1200’s first collaboration with a full symphony orchestra as a rap artist occurred on the 4th of July for the Louisville Orchestra Waterfront 4th celebration, where he joined the Louisville Orchestra, performing his original music for over 40,000 Louisvillians. He has additionally performed world premieres of Steve Hackman’s piece Firebird Remix|Response with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Hackman’s Tchaik v. Drake with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and Oregon Symphony Orchestra. In addition to the Hackman premieres, 1200 performed in the inaugural Stereo Hideout: Brooklyn concert featuring a full symphony orchestra of hand-selected musicians who played a fusion of pop and classical music. 1200 returned to stage with the Louisville Orchestra, starring as his hometown hero, Muhammad Ali, in an immersive orchestral experience with music, poetry, narration, and dance alongside maestro Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra for the world premiere of The Greatest: Muhammad Ali. Before working with full symphonies, 1200 organized his own chamber orchestras consisting of choirs, string sections, and a wide range of other instruments. Beyond the orchestral world, 1200 has also played contemporary stages such as Forecastle Festival in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 with the likes of My Morning Jacket, LCD Soundsystem, Gary Clark Jr., Run the Jewels, and many more. In January 2017 he performed at the 92nd Street Y Musical Introduction Series, where he played for 5,000 public school students over the course of six interactive concerts, in New York City, teaching them the power of hip hop.
ABOUT COMMUNITY ORGANIZING
As a community organizer, 1200 has curated countless gatherings, all-ages, and featuring a variety of performers. He curated and managed five different ReSurfaced activations where an underutilized parking lot was turned into a concert venue, food market, and gathering place. With the Speed Art Museum he curated and managed music for the private grand reopening gala and public 30-hour nonstop celebration after a $60 million renovation, as well as their 90th birthday celebration, and select exhibitions. He has worked with the Carnegie Center for Art and History for several years organizing their public art and music festival in New Albany, IN. He was also personally asked by Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer to help organize the inaugural I AM ALI Festival, an event hosted in Louisville to celebrate the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali. In July 2018 he played his fourth Forecastle Festival and invited fellow West Louisvillian performers for the inaugural West Louisville showcase, breaking race and cultural barriers for the rock-heavy and predominately white-attended festival. He wrote and directed a hip hopera to showcase the first Athiri cohort that premiered at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. His company, 1200LLC, has hired over 2,500 local musicians, entertainers, and sound designers, helping generate over $300,000 for the local arts in Louisville.
1200 won Hip Hop Artist of the Year at the 2015 Louisville Music Awards, Emerging Leader in the Arts at the Fund for the Arts and Jennifer Lawrence Foundation’s 2016 Awards in the Arts, Jefferson County Public Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year at Campbellsville University’s 2017 Excellence in Teaching Awards, and the Community Champion Award at Funk Fest 2018.
With a passion for civic duty, 1200 serves as a board member and volunteer with several nonprofit organizations, including Louisville Downtown Partnership Downtown, an organization dedicated to the success of downtown through strengthening commerce, providing high-quality placemaking, improving visitor, resident and workforce experiences, and stimulating high-quality development. He serves the ParkVille Neighborhood Association, a joint organization of West Louisville’s Park Duvalle and Parkland, where Arthur was born and raised. Arthur is also a member of the National Association of Music Education, Kentucky Music Educators Association, and the Percussive Arts Society.
Follow 1200 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube @1200LLC