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.