Asterisk is the musical project of PJ and Rokaya Cornell. PJ is the founder of the
group, and an improvisatory musician whose principal instrument is the piano. Rokaya
is a singer specializing in blues techniques. They have a semi-
Philip John Cornell began to familiarize himself with creating music at the age of 5, wrote his first composition at the age of 7, and began his formal musical education at the age of 11 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where he studied music theory, ear training, music history, piano, and trumpet. At 12, he became seriously interested in composition, and, at the age of 13, began to study with Vladimir Sapozhnikov; a member of the Saint Petersburg Composers’ Union. He studied with him for three years, achieving an honorable mention at the Saint Petersburg Composers’ Union Young Composers Municipal Competition for a piano piece entitled, The Seventh Seal. While he attended high school in the USA, he continued his studies with Dr. Phillip Schroeder at Sam Houston State University. His work was recognized for an honorable mention by the National Foundation for the Arts Talent Search as a high school senior in 2003.
PJ Cornell was accepted to the Shepherd School of Music in 2003, where he studied under Dr. Arthur Gottschalk. He had several pieces premiered while studying there, including an orchestral piece entitled Arctic Spirit, and a song cycle of three Anna Akhamtova poems, among others. He graduated from Rice University in 2007 with a BMus in Composition, a BA in Slavic Studies and Policy Studies, and a minor in Military Science (from the University of Houston). At that time, he also received a military commission as an Infantry Officer in the Texas Army National Guard.
After he graduated from the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course, 1LT Cornell
volunteered for two deployments -
Rokaya grew up in Azemmour, Morocco. She grew up with a strong interest in American
culture and music -
In 2016, PJ met then Rokaya Charif (now Rokaya Charif Cornell), and the two got married the following year. Asterisk is now their joint project.
This website is now the informational and contact hub for all matters relating to the Asterisk project, which, besides being a musical group, is also a general musical production services and commercial music production company, run by PJ and Rokaya. Please direct all performance, services, commercial, and personal inquiries to the “Contact Us” page. We look forward to hearing from you!