William David Cooper is a conductor, organist, scholar and composer. Before coming to St. James, he was organist and choirmaster at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Davis, California. He has also been director of the UC Davis Early Music Ensemble, and director of music at First Baptist Church in Lafayette, Indiana.
Cooper's compositional output includes opera, orchestral, choral, vocal, chamber and electroacoustic music. In 2016 his opera Hagar was staged and performed at the National Opera Association convention in Indianapolis. He won the 2014 Black House Collective New Operas Competition, and his opera Cleopatra was subsequently performed at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City. In 2013 he was commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria to compose Psalm 148. His music has also been performed by Augustin Hadelich, Liza Stepanova, the Lysander Trio, ECCE ensemble, AnticoModerno, the Lydian String Quartet, the Davis Madrigal Singers, and the Juilliard Orchestra, among others.
Cooper earned bachelors and masters degrees from the Juilliard School and a PhD from the University of California at Davis, studying composition with Samuel Adler, Robert Beaser, Kurt Rohde, Ross Bauer and Pablo Ortiz, and organ with Paul Jacobs. He received a 2014 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and three ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, including the 2012 Leo Kaplan Award. Cooper has also received fellowships from the Aspen Music Festival, the Wellesley Composers Conference, I-Park, Brush Creek, the Ucross Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Current projects include an octet for the Scharoun Ensemble, comprised of principal players of the Berlin Philharmonic, a commission from the New York Virtuoso Singers, a setting of the Lux aeterna for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church NYC, and a new work for harp and cello to be premiered at the 2017 World Harp Congress in Hong Kong. His piano trio, An den Wassern zu Babel, will be featured on an upcoming CD with the Lysander Trio, and an article on Cristobal de Morales's Missa mille regretz will be featured in an upcoming edition of the scholarly journal Early Music.