Dan Cooper's music has been noted in The Associated Press, American Record Guide, Berkshire Eagle, Boston Globe, CurtainUp, Fanfare, Greenwich Times, Metroland Albany, NMC, The New York Times, Times Union and Time Out New York, among others — "contemporary impressionism," "inventive," "creative," "vibrant," "drawing on vernacular styles," "especially fascinating," "full of instrumental virtuosity and sly humor," "utterly charming," "incorporates blues.. into a contemporary context," "whimsical," "carefree," "acute," "daring," "well-plotted," "hauntingly beautiful," and with a "spirit of originality, verve, and humor, now being passed on to a new generation."
Cooper was born and raised in Manhattan, and educated at Horace Mann, Columbia, NEC, and Princeton University. He also completed studies at the Conservatoire de Nice and Fontainebleau. Principal teachers include John Heiss, Steve Mackey and Paul Lansky. Cooper has also studied with Barbara White, Betsy Jolas, Chen Yi, John Harbison, Kenneth Koch, Lee Hyla, Michael Gandolfi, Mindy Kaufman, Osvaldo Golijov, Perry Cook, Philip Glass, Philippe Manoury, Robert Ceely and Toni Morrison, among others. For several years, Cooper worked as an assistant to electronic music pioneer Otto Luening, who mentored him in composition, orchestration and musical life in general. The recipient of an Aaron Copland composition fellowship to Tanglewood, Cooper worked as an assistant to Louis Andriessen, and composed and produced incidental music for several acclaimed Shakespeare & Company productions directed by Tina Packer and Daniela Varon: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Coriolanus, King Lear and The Winter's Tale. In addition, Cooper's music was premiered at Tanglewood's Ozawa Hall, at a gala event featuring Mike Wallace, Jane Fonda, David Strathairn and Marisa Tomei.
Cooper’s music has been recognized with various awards, commissions, premieres, readings, recordings, showcases and residencies from Albany Symphony, Albany Records, ASCAP, Artists International, B3+, Cary Trust, Circadia, Electro-Music, Empire State Youth Orchestra, Engine 27, Femmes Four, Fontainebleau, Imani Winds, ISC, June in Buffalo, Lumina String Quartet, Majestic Brass, Meet the Composer, NARAS, NEA, NEC, NJSO, NYNME, NYYS, North River Music, Norwalk Youth Symphony, Palisades Virtuosi, Scotia Festival, ACO / Sonic Festival, Sweet Plantain, Vox Novus 60x60, Walter W. Naumburg Fund and Zentripetal Duo, among others. In 2002, he was appointed to the faculty of the State University of New York / FIT, where he has created new SUNY General Education Requirement courses in American Music, European-Classical Music, and Latin-American and Caribbean Music. In addition, Cooper teaches composition at the 92nd St Y School of Music, and music and Shakespeare classes at Greenwich House Senior Center. He is a co-director of the 501(c)(3) chamber music series and record label Composers Concordance, distributed by Naxos.