David Cooper’s passion for the French horn is in his blood, with both his uncle and grandmother serving as horn players in the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. When Cooper was only 11, he earned his grandmother’s horn after proving he could play his first scale. She sent him home with a couple of Dennis Brain recordings and he has been enthralled with the horn ever since! He began his studies right away with Dr. Dale Bartlett, his grandmother’s former colleague in the Lansing Symphony. Cooper began playing with Michigan State University ensembles when only 15 and was in the top MSU collegiate ensemble at age 16.
Cooper attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia from 2002 to 2004 and was awarded a Tanglewood Fellowship in 2003. Soon after school Cooper completed a year of service as an Americorps intern with the Jefferson Land Trust in Port Townsend, Washington. His first professional symphonic appointment was as the acting principal horn of the Victoria Symphony from 2006 to 2008. While still in Victoria, he won Co-Associate Principal horn of the Fort Worth Symphony and was there from 2008 to 2011. After Fort Worth, Cooper moved next door to the Dallas Symphony as third horn in 2011. In 2013, Cooper won principal horn of the National Symphony in Washington D.C. but, within weeks, he was appointed Principal horn of the Dallas Symphony, where he still currently plays. In 2016 Cooper won solo horn of the Berlin Philharmonic where he played from 2017 to 2018. At the beginning of the 2018-19 season he returned back to his wife and home in Dallas and resumed his position as principal horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Cooper has also played guest principal horn with the London Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Cooper enjoys many solo and chamber music appearances in the United States and abroad. He is currently the Music Director of Avant Chamber Ballet in Dallas, TX, which he helped found with his wife Katie Cooper in 2012.