Haim Cotton began playing the piano at the age of 11, studying classical music. A few years later, he was accepted to The Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts in Tel-Aviv, where he received a comprehensive musical education. He represented the school in various public performances both as a soloist and in chamber music groups.
Upon graduation, Haim was accepted to the Buchman-Mehta School at Tel Aviv University, where he founded the school’s first jazz group ever, and went on to represent the school in performances throughout the country. He was quickly noticed by some of Israel’s leading artists, who sought him for their tours and recordings. By the time he was 22, he had played on 15 albums with artists such as Matti Caspi, Ofra Haza, and Yossi Banai.
Haim then moved to the US, where he went on to study piano with Walter Bishop, Jr. and arranging and orchestration with Bob Mintzer and Don Sebesky. He also started writing regularly for Omnimusic, one of America’s top production music libraries. His works have been licensed in commercials, films and TV shows throughout the world and featured in news programs such as CNN nightly news. Haim eventually became Ofra Haza’s musical director. He played on her final solo album Kyria and performed with her at a number of international festivals, including the Montreux Jazz Festival. They also made an appearance together on “The Tonight Show.”
In addition to being a renowned performer and arranger, Haim has led a successful teaching career for the last several decades. In 1992, he became part of the jazz faculty at Mannes College and The New School, where he still teaches to this day. He and pianist and composer Dr. Ronn Yedidia co-founded the New York Piano Academy in 2005, with the mission of offering students of all ages a unique program for development in both jazz and classical disciplines. Haim’s pedagogy finds him teaching musicians who are not pianists, as well as vocalists who strive to reach their fullest potential.
As a session musician, Haim worked with artists such as Randy Brecker, Jon Lucien and Nelson Rangell. In 2007, Haim founded the group Project Grand Slam with his long-time collaborator Robert Miller. Their debut album,”Play,” was produced by Grammy-winning producer Frank Filipetti and was nominated for eight Grammy awards. Several tunes from the album were featured in the NBC Primetime television series “Lipstick Jungle,” and the group had a cameo in one of the episodes.
Haim is an alumnus of the BMI Advanced Musical Theater Workshop, where he developed several musicals under the tutelage of celebrated Broadway writers such as Maury Yeston, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and collaborated with writers such as Kristen Anderson Lopez ( “Frozen”).