About Matt Cooper
Matt Cooper is a Professor Emeritus of Music at Eastern Oregon University, where he was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Faculty award in 2019. He is the author of a Duke Ellington: A Study in Styles (College Music Society, 2013), has been a keynote speaker and recitalist on Ellington’s piano music at conferences in Amsterdam, in England, and at Reed College (Portland), and has been interviewed on Dutch television station VPRO. A bronze medalist in both the Thelonious Monk International and Great American Jazz Piano Competitions (1988), he has toured with the Woody Herman big band, and performed or recorded with many jazz artists such as Eddie Harris, Nancy King, Glen Moore, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, and Clark Terry.
Dr. Cooper has performed jazz and classical recitals and concertos with orchestras throughout the United States, as well as in three tours of the Russian Far East. His performance in Khabarovsk, Russia in 2000 was heralded as the first of its kind, combining a Mozart concerto with solo jazz standards. He has recorded four jazz and classical CDs, and has been a guest artist at festivals such as the San Juan College (New Mexico) Jazz Festival, University of Wisconsin-Platteville Jazz Festival, Piano Duet Festival-by-the-Sea, as well as the International Festival of Creative Pianists when it was located in Boise. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oregon. Dr. Cooper has done extensive study in the Taubman approach to piano, studying with teachers in Spokane, Portland, and Princeton, New Jersey, and has intensively studied Tango music at the Academia Nacional del Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dr. Cooper has adjudicated many piano festivals and competitions throughout the Northwest, including the MTNA Performance Competitions in Washington and Montana, the Boise Sonatina Festival, and many others. A Past President and Lifetime Member of Oregon Music Teachers Association, he is in frequent demand throughout the Northwest as a performer, adjudicator, clinician and presenter, and he is known locally as the accompanist of choice for nationally-known jazz artists such as Rob Scheps, Kathy Kosins, and Dmitri Matheny.
Currently he is working on a book chapter for Music: My Rampart (College Music Society), planning performances of the works of Sun Ra and John Coltrane for this fall, practicing for performances of new orchestral music next spring with Oregon East Symphony, and starting a new piano trio with Zachary Banks and Viet Block (conductor and violinist of the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra). He teaches private lessons in piano, jazz piano and music theory for Art Center East.