About

Cooper-headshot5-2019
David Johanson

Jacob Cooper enjoys collaborating with performers, poets, and directors, as well as with machines, environments, and questionable histories. Lauded as “richly talented” (The New York Times) and a “conceptually intrepid, sharp young composer” (Pitchfork), Jacob has fulfilled commissions for the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Eighth Blackbird, the Calder Quartet, singer Jodie Landau, cellist Ashley Bathgate, Ensemble Connect (formerly ACJW), The Living Earth Show, Mobius Percussion, and trombonist Matthew Wright. His music has also been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Albany Symphony, the Carmina Slovenica choir, the JACK Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Argus Quartet, the Dither Quartet, the NOW Ensemble, vocalists Theo Bleckmann and Mellissa Hughes, and pianists Vicky Chow, Timo Andres, and Kathleen Supové. Jacob’s works have appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Kimmel Center, Soundbox (San Francisco), the MATA Festival (New York), the Incubator Arts Project (New York), the Spoleto Festival (Charleston), the Wordless Music concert series at the Miller Theater (New York), Operadagen RotterdamRadialsystem V (Berlin), and the Choregie Festival (Slovenia).

Pitchfork praised Jacob’s recent album Terrain (New Amsterdam Records) as “vital and compulsive,” highlighting its “surprisingly magnetic meditations on time” that are “firmly rooted both in the distant past and music much closer to the present,” while San Francisco Classical Voice characterized the album as a “beautiful way to look at sky when sky is not available.” The String Orchestra of Brooklyn’s recording of his expansive Stabat Mater Dolorosa was listed by National Public Radio as a Top 10 album of January 2020, and the New York Times described the work as “exhaustingly poignant.” Jacob’s song cycle Silver Threads, written for soprano Mellissa Hughes and electronic track, was released by Nonesuch Records and hailed as a “Best of 2014” recording by WQXR. Other works of his appear on Cedille Records, New Focus Recordings, and Innova Recordings.

Timberbrit, Jacob’s “gutsy opera” (Time Out NY) about a fictional reunion between Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and in The Believer’s annual music issue. Jacob has worked in visual media as well, and his video Alla stagion dei fior was highlighted as a “rumbling, jittering threnody” (The New York Times), while Commencer une autre mort, which “skillfully toys with the audience’s expectations and experience of opera” (Capital NY), was shortlisted for the inaugural YouTube / Guggenheim Biennial of Creative Video.

Jacob has earned awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, Chamber Music America, and New Music USA, and has won the Carlsbad Music Festival  competition. He has held residences at the Ucross Foundation, the Kimmel Center’s SEI Innovation Studio, the Banff Centre, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and he has attended the Bang on a Can Summer Institute and the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. Jacob is also the least well-dressed of the six composers in the collective Sleeping Giant, whose members are “unquestionably some of the most talented and engaging young composers around” (The New Yorker).

Also dedicated to teaching, Jacob is an Associate Professor of Music at West Chester University and holds a doctorate in composition from the Yale School of Music. He lives in Philadelphia, PA with his wife Claudia and children Asher and Lia.