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John Cooper is a jazz artist and composer who makes his home in Macomb, Illinois, where he is Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Western Illinois University.
He conducts the WIU Jazz Studio Orchestra (which played Carnegie Hall in May, 2010), and he is a member of the Hopper Faculty Jazztet.
John is an active composer/arranger and bandleader as well as a published reviewer of new music for the International Association of Jazz Educators. He's the recipient of multiple grants including from the National Endowment for the Arts and is a trumpet Artist/Clinician for Conn-Selmer.
His first solo release, Watching for Watchung Plaza has received critical acclaim from Detroit Free Press music critic, Mark Stryker. The John Cooper Jazz Orchestra release "The Baecker Jazz Worship Service" was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. Cooper is also a featured solosit on the Acoustic Chicago recording released on Stonecutter Records. Cooper has received national recognition from the President of the United States of America for service and the Western IL University Excellence in Service Community Involvement Award for Diversity, and as member of the McDonough County Post 6 American Legion Honor Guard, John volunteers his time to perform TAPS for military funerals. His composition commissions include the Peoria Heritage Ensemble, the Al Sears Jazz Festival, and the United Church of Christ.
Cooper began his musical career in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan where he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Wayne State University in Jazz Studies. While in Detroit, he performed with the Johnny Trudell Orchestra as well as jazz artists Jon Faddis, Carl Fontana, Jim McNeely, Clark Terry, John Fedchock, David Liebman, Gary Foster, Alan Vizutti, James Moody, J. C. Heard, Duffy Jackson, Chico O'Ferrill, Jiggs Wigham Terry Gibbs, Slide Hampton, Ken Watters, and other national touring acts including Aretha Franklin, The Four Freshmen, The Four Lads, Mitzi Gaynor, Henny Youngman, Lola Falana, Roger Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Jerry Lewis, The Temptations, Rich Little, Joan Rivers, The Four Tops, The Spinners, Tony Orlando and Dawn, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and Lou Rawls.
Cooper continued his education, obtaining a Master's degree in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he worked as a teaching assistant in Jazz Studies under the supervision of Jazz Studies Director, Jeff Halsey. From Ohio, Cooper moved to New York City to continue studies with jazz artist and composer Jim McNeely at New York University, where he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Composition in 1996. While in New York, Cooper was a member of the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop and graduated to the Master Composer's group.
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