Jacob Cooper (composer)

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Jacob Cooper
Birth nameJacob Mauney Cooper
GenresContemporary classical, electronic, experimental music
Occupation(s)Composer, educator
Years active2005–present
LabelsNonesuch Records

Jacob Mauney Cooper is an American composer living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1]


After attending Amherst College for his bachelor's degree in both geology and music,[2] Cooper completed his graduate studies in composition at the Yale School of Music,[3] and later formed the composers’ collective Sleeping Giant with several of his classmates.[4] His works have been performed by the Calder Quartet, JACK Quartet, Eighth Blackbird, Minnesota Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble ACJW, NOW Ensemble, Dither Quartet, Living Earth Show, Carmina Slovenica, Mellissa Hughes, Timo Andres, Theo Bleckmann, Jodie Landau, Ashley Bathgate, and Vicky Chow.[5]

Cooper's national awards include a Music Alive Residency Award from New Music USA,[6] a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters,[7] and a Morton Gould Young Composer Award from ASCAP.[8] He was also the winner of the 2011 Carsblad Music Festival Composers’ Competition[9] and has been hailed by the New York Times as "richly talented"[10] and by The New Yorker as a "maverick song composer."[11]

Cooper is an associate professor at West Chester University[12] and previously served on the faculty at Amherst College.[13]


Cooper's largest projects include Silver Threads, a song cycle for voice and electronic track released by Nonesuch Records,[14] and Ripple the Sky, a work for voice and processed string octet commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.[15] These works highlight Cooper's focus on slow development and the stretching of musical time.[16] Many of Cooper's compositions involve live processing and electronics, and his interest in the digital realm extends to visual media: his video series Triptych was screened at the 2012 MATA Festival,[17] and his piece Commencer une autre mort was shortlisted for the Guggenheim exhibit YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video (2010).[18]

Compositions and Projects[edit]

Opera and Vocal-Theater

  • Threnos (for the Throat) (2017–20) for processed women's choir with electronic track
  • Timberbrit (2008, revised 2010) for male vocalist, female vocalist, guitar, keyboard, drumset, and laptop

Orchestral / large ensemble

  • Sanctus (2015) for orchestra and SATB choir
  • Serenade (2013) for 2 vocalists and 16 instrumentalists
  • Stabat Mater Dolorosa (2009) for string orchestra and 4 amplified voices
  • Odradek (2006) for full orchestra


  • Terrain (2020) for 2 vocalists and cello
  • Air I and Air II (2016) for percussion quartet
  • Ripple the Sky (2016) for voice and string octet
  • Pasturing I and Pasturing II (2014) for guitar and percussion / drum set
  • Cast (2014) for chamber ensemble
  • Agitated, stumbling, like an endless run-on sentence (2011) for cl, bsn, tpt, tbn, perc, vln, db
  • bad black bottom kind (2011, rev. 2013) for string quartet
  • Cello Octet (2010)

Solo (and solo with electronic track / laptop)

  • Three pieces for Trombone and Trombone Track (2019)
  • Expiation (2018) for voice with electronic track
  • Ley Line (2016) for solo cello
  • Silver Threads (2011–13) song cycle for voice with electronic track
  • La Plus Que Plus Que Lente (2013) for piano with laptop
  • Arches (2012) for cello with laptop
  • Clifton Gates (2011) for piano with laptop
  • Alter Ad Alterum (2011) for accordion with laptop
  • Not Just Another Piece for Solo Bass Drum (2005)


  • Triptych:
    • Commencer une autre mort (2010)
    • Black or White (2012)
    • Alla stagion dei fior (2012)


Full albums

  • Terrain (New Amsterdam Records, 2020)[19]
  • Silver Threads (Nonesuch Records, 2014) with Mellissa Hughes, soprano[20]

Featured On

  • The String Orchestra of Brooklyn's afterimage (Furious Artisans, 2020), Stabat Mater Dolorosa[21]
  • Ashley Bathgate's Ash (New Amsterdam Records, 2019), Ley Line[22]
  • Eighth Blackbird's Hand Eye (Cedille Records, 2016), Cast[23]
  • The Living Earth Show's Dance Music (New Amsterdam Records, 2016), Pasturing II[24]
  • Vicky Chow's A O R T A (New Amsterdam Records, 2016), Clifton Gates[25]
  • Kathleen Supové's The Debussy Effect (New Focus Recordings, 2016), La plus que plus que lente[26]


  1. ^ "About". 2017-06-21. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  2. ^ "American Music Series: Jacob Cooper". Yale University Library. Yale University. June 16, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  3. ^ "Timberbrit, opera by Jacob Cooper '10MMA, at Incubator Arts Project". Yale School of Music. Yale University. November 8, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  4. ^ "Sleeping Giant Composers Collection receives Music Alive residency". Yale School of Music. Yale University. June 14, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "Music by Jacob Cooper featured in Nov. 7 recital". Yale School of Music. Yale University. October 22, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  6. ^ "2013 Music Alive Residency Awardees". New Music USA. New Music USA. June 14, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "The Charles Ives Awards". Arts and Letters. Arts and Letters. Archived from the original on January 31, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  8. ^ "The ASCAP Foundation Names Recipients of the 2007 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards". ASCAP. ASCAP. April 12, 2007. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "Carlsbad Music Festival 2011, Sept. 23-25 / Festival Moves to Village of Carlsbad / Composers Competition Winner Announced" (PDF). Carlsbad Music Festival. Carlsbad Music Festival. April 12, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 18, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  10. ^ "Corey Dargel and Jacob Cooper". New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  11. ^ "Unraveling: New Songs by Corey Dargel and Jacob Cooper". The New Yorker. January 7, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  12. ^ "Music Theory, History, and Composition : Faculty - West Chester University". www.wcupa.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  13. ^ "Pop-Star Tragedy". Amherst Magazine. Amherst College. Spring 2011. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  14. ^ "Nonesuch Releases Jacob Cooper's Label Debut, "Silver Threads," Featuring Soprano Mellissa Hughes, April 29". Nonesuch. Nonesuch Records. March 11, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  16. ^ "Jacob Cooper Finds Grace in Diaphanous Slow Motion". Q2 Music. WQXR. April 28, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  17. ^ "April 20: Signs and Signals". MATA Festival. MATA Festival. April 20, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  18. ^ "YouTube Play: Introducing the Shortlist". Guggenheim. Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. September 20, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  19. ^ "New Amsterdam Records - Albums". New Amsterdam Records. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  20. ^ "Jacob Cooper's Nonesuch Records Debut, "Silver Threads," Featuring Soprano Mellissa Hughes, Out Now - Nonesuch Records". Nonesuch Records Official Website. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  21. ^ Staff Writer (2020-03-09). "String Orchestra of Brooklyn: afterimage". Furious Artisans. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  22. ^ "New Amsterdam Records - Albums". New Amsterdam Records. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  23. ^ "Hand Eye | Classical Music". Cedille Records. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  24. ^ "New Amsterdam Records - Albums". New Amsterdam Records. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  25. ^ "New Amsterdam Records - Albums". New Amsterdam Records. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  26. ^ "Kathleen Supové: The Debussy Effect | Catalogue". New Focus Recordings. Retrieved 2020-04-10.

External links[edit]