Dakota Cotugno began his study of cello at the age of 12 and has loved it ever since. A native of Colorado, he grew up in the Longmont/Boulder/Broomfield area attending Westview Middle School and Silver creek High School. During those years he was named principal cello consecutive years in the District Honors Orchestra, Colorado All-State Orchestra, and the Western States Honors Orchestra. A full-ride scholarship recipient, he holds degrees from the University of Colorado Boulder studying with David Requiro (B.M. Cello Performance) and the University of Michigan (M.M. Cello Performance and M.M. Chamber Music). He is currently a Doctoral Pre-candidate and graduate student instructor at The University of Michigan, studying under Richard Aaron.
Mr. Cotugno was awarded the silver medal in the 2019 Irving M. Klein International String Competition, in which he also garnered the Pablo Casals Prize for Best Performance of Bach. He was also the first place winner of the school-wide Undergraduate Concerto Competition at CU Boulder as a sophomore which resulted in a performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra.
As an orchestral player, Mr. Cotugno has played with the Detroit Symphony, was an orchestral fellow and principal cellist of the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and the Ann Arbor Symphony. Dakota joined the cello section of the Colorado Symphony in December of 2022.
A passionate teacher, Mr. Cotugno has enjoyed working with dozens of cellists of all ages, from 7 to 76. A number of his students have been named principal cello of the District Honors Orchestra, and have participated in the Colorado All-state and Western States Orchestra. His private students have been accepted with scholarships to schools such as the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the New England Conservatory of Music. Mr. Cotugno enjoys sharing what he’s learned with others who are passionate about cultivating their musical and technical skills.