CEO/Creative Director/Performing Artist Doctor Noize‘s name in the real world is Cory Cullinan. He grew up in Silicon Valley and had an idyllic childhood until a dramatic series of tragic events inspired him to grow up quickly and apply unusual focus and purpose to his life at a young age — the subject of one of his two Keynote Addresses.
Cullinan graduated with Distinction and Honors in Music and Political Science from Stanford. Soon after, his album My Oyster earned accolades for having the free spirit of an indie release but the production values of a major release — a blueprint he would follow upon becoming Doctor Noize. A live recording of his marriage proposal song to his wife, Something (For Janette), lead to placement of his songs in TV shows and mainstream movies like Brad Pitt’s Spy Game. He wrote film scores for such diverse purposes as documentaries shown at the Sundance Film Festival, PBS, and Air Force training sessions.
During this time he began teaching high school music at Pinewood School in Silicon Valley. He found teaching to be a lifelong calling, making an immediate and lasting impact on his students. His classical music history course, Too Many Notes, became so popular it was made a requirement for all freshmen; his music composition and production class released eight full albums of original songs created in the recording studio he built for the school; he conducted his students in fully staged theatre productions like Sondheim’s Into The Woods; and he led the Pinewood Singers to win the Best Overall Choir award at Disneyland’s multi-state Music In The Parks competition, earning the only perfect score from the judges while competing against schools ten times Pinewood’s size. Cullinan was named Pinewood’s Arts, Communication & Technology Department Head after just a few years teaching.
Pinewood gave Cullinan the opportunity to expand his love of teaching into coaching. A competitive soccer player in his youth who made the roster at Stanford, Cullinan developed a coaching philosophy based on his teaching experience: He inspires and entrusts kids — even young kids — to stretch for a more sophisticated structural understanding of the subject matter than most. Kids respond to this challenge with the boundless enthusiasm that is inherent to them, leading to rapid and substantial growth. Cullinan lead the Pinewood boys’ soccer team — who hadn’t won a league game in seven years — to an 8-4-2 record, and his younger girls’ team earned the best record in the region’s top division, emphasizing team-first values and sportsmanship, for four consecutive seasons. His teaching and coaching philosophies — recognizing the higher bar that kids are capable of when you truly believe in them — are the principles guiding the creation of every Doctor Noize adventure, and Cullinan considers his teaching and coaching experience crucial to his ability to do right for kids as Doctor Noize.
After the birth of his two action/adventure superhero daughters, Cullinan’s passion became creating inspiring adventures for younger adventurers. He released The Ballad Of Phineas McBoof, his first recording under the guise of his alter ego, Doctor Noize. Within two months, it had spawned a national #1 hit song — Banana — on Sirius XM Kids Radio and scored awards ranging from a Parents Choice Award to being named one of Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products. Then came the completion of Doctor Noize’s first book, The Ballad Of Phineas McBoof. Like the recording, the book tells the tale of the great monkey Phineas McBoof and his quest for the impossibly perfect song with his band, The International Band Of Misunderstood Geniuses.
His subsequent Doctor Noize albums have continued to communicate his belief that kids are the most adventurous, creative, and brilliant audience in the world. The Return Of Phineas McBoof – containing even more sophisticated fare than its predecessor — served as Act 2 of the story launched in The Ballad Of Phineas McBoof, and features a fully-orchestrated version of Banana starring opera baritone Nathan Gunn. This lead to a commission by The McConnell Foundation to compose a 60-minute work for orchestra and voice about classical music, which premiered with CA’s North State Symphony under the baton of Maestro Kyle Pickett. The third album, Grammaropolis, was a commission from and collaboration with Coert Voorhees and the Grammaropolis brand. Featuring the Top 10 national hit Welcome To Grammaropolis, it teaches kids a truly deep knowledge of grammar through Doctor Noize’s trademark story and character based teaching techniques, and an animated video was created for every major part of speech.
As a live performer, Doctor Noize has inspired enthusiastic audiences across the country by engaging kids and adults alike with his totally innovative performance approach inspiring audiences to participate in the creative process. He arranges, plays and loop records multiple instruments and vocals live on the spot, inviting audience members to join him onstage and contribute their own talents. All Doctor Noize live programs are administered to creative audiences with immeasurable doses of energy, goodwill and humor. The Doc’s shows range from intimate acoustic performances to his groundbreaking performances with full symphony orchestras that inspire a love of orchestral music in kids.
Doctor Noize also combines his music and teaching backgrounds into renowned Workshopz across the country and in his custom-built studio. Whether he’s teaching kids about Pop Song Structure, Classical Sonata Form, music fundamentals, songwriting, or giving Keynote Addresses, the Doc is known as an inspiring teacher for kids and adults alike. He even writes, records, and publishes complete songs online with kids across the country in 60-90 minute Song Workshops.
The success of his music and integrated story- and character-based approach to family media soon lead to other opportunities and ventures. He teamed up with Outblaze Ventures in Hong Kong and became the CEO and Creative Director of Doctor Noize Inc. Doctor Noize’s multimedia line expanded to include albums, books, mobile apps, online games, educational curriculums, videos, and more. 3D animated books based on his first two albums were released. Doctor Noize’s first app, Bananas! – based on his hit song — charted Top 25 in over 25 countries around the world and was downloaded more than 300,000 times. His second app, The Ballad Of Phineas McBoof Interactive Book, brings kids deeper inside the book with narration, songs, pages in motion, and the opportunity to remix your own version of a Doctor Noize song. And all the Grammaropolis songs are featured in the popular grammar app Grammaropolis.
Doctor Noize then turned his attention to designing, building and opening his dream creative production and fitness facility: Reach Studios. Combining his love of music, creativity, soccer, fitness, and teaching/coaching, Reach is a place the Doc can do and teach everything he loves most. It’s a full-fledged, five-room composing and recording studio; it’s an indoor soccer and training turf field; and it’s a fitness facility. Production of all Doctor Noize creations is now anchored at Reach.
Doctor Noize’s current album in production is his dream project — a 2 Act, 2 album musical theatre work introducing creative listeners to the world of the orchestra called Phineas McBoof Crashes The Symphony. Featuring the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, opera superstars Isabel Leonard and Nathan Gunn, and the entire Doctor Noize voice cast, the album will be released in 2015. It was partially funded by a successful Kickstarter Campaign, and Doctor Noize already performs concert versions of it with orchestras around the country.
2016 will see the premiere of Doctor Noize’s first commissioned work for children’s theatre, The Ballad Of Phineas McBoof – based on the 2 Act combo of his first two Doctor Noize albums and books. Whereas all his works to date — including the theatrical Phineas McBoof Crashes The Symphony – are primarily performed by a cast of adults, the live theatrical version of The Ballad will be performed by a cast entirely of kids. It will premiere at the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre before opening in other theatres around the country.
Through it all, Doctor Noize remains fiercely true to his indie educator spirit, and insists on serving kids sophisticated fare that recognizes them for the creative potential they have instead of “simple comfort food media.” Doctor Noize does not consider himself part of a modern internet culture or industry that assumes kids have short attention spans to babysit. Instead, he considers himself a purposeful parent and educator creating adventures for kids that inspire them to stretch, grow, learn, laugh, and create lives of purpose and ambition for themselves. He believes every kid is capable of great sophistication and purpose — even if our culture increasingly settles for less than that.
The Doc does consider himself a partner of an organic national network of Noizemakers who want to bring quality family experiences to their kids and communities, and do it with a smile. All Doctor Noize productions, shows and communications serve ample doses of irreverence and humor. Zooglobble writer and NPR family music commentator Stefan Shepherd called Doctor Noize “the funniest guy in kids music, and that’s saying something.”
So that’s it. We hope you thought this bio was even better than Tolstoy’s War & Peace, but a lot shorter. Well, a little shorter. See ya at the shows.