|David Cope was born in San Francisco, California on May 17, 1941. Following early study on piano (including an extensive performance career) and violoncello, he completed degrees in composition at Arizona State University and the University of Southern California studying with George Perle, Halsey Stevens, Ingolf Dahl and Grant Fletcher. His over seventy published compositions have received thousands of performances throughout the U.S. and abroad, including those by the Vermont, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Cabrillo Festival, and Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestras, as well as numerous university orchestras and wind ensembles. Twenty-one of Cope's works appear on recordings including Variations (piano and wind orchestra; Cornell University), Re-Birth (concert band), Concert (piano and orchestra, Mary Jane Cope, soloist) and Threshold and Visions (orchestra). Complete albums of his music have appeared on Folkways (2), Opus One and Discant Records and include a wide diversity of works from large ensembles to soloists with electronic and computer-generated tape.|
Steven Mamula writes about Cope's work in a definitive article in the American
Record Guide (May, 1982):|
"For the past three years Cope has also been involved with creating a massive work (two hours) for single performer. The composer became interested in finding a place that he loved and that fascinated him, exploring its history, lore, religions, etc., and then creating a piece from that intimacy. Canyon de Chelley in Arizona has been such a place for him. He began by studying all published material on the Canyon's archaeological roots and art history (Anasazi art, petroglyphs primarily), as well as learning as much of the Navajo language as possible, then went to live for a time in the Canyon, exploring it thoroughly and continuously sketching musical ideas from the mountain of research. Also, during this time he built many instruments (not as a craftsman but as a composer, i.e., instruments not beautiful or masterful, since some contained only one note). Some were made with materials such as prayer stones and sheepbone mallets, though very few artifacts were removed and all with permission. Cope declares '...slowly but surely a piece is emerging, one so personal and intensely real that 'performance' hardly describes the results.' The title of his cosmically ambitious work is THE WAY."
Cope has received numerous awards including two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, fifteen ASCAP standard Panel Awards, Composers' Forum (New York City) recital award, Houston Composers Symposium Award and numerous university grants. He has been guest composer/lecturer at over thirty universities. His New Directions in Music now appears in its seventh edition with positive reviews so numerous they have become prohibitive to reprint. Techniques of the Contemporary Composer, containing over 300 original musical examples composed specifically for the book, and New Music Notation, continue to be used as standard reference tools. His books Computers and Musical Style, Experiments in Musical Intelligence, The Algorithmic Composer and Virtual Music. describe the computer program Experiments in Musical Intelligence which he created in 1981. The program functions by inheriting a composer's style and then composing new music in that style.
Experiments in Musical Intelligence's music is available on four Centaur Records CDs (CRC 2184, CRC 2329, CRC 2452, CRC 2619 listed in Centaur's contemporary music category). The first, called "Bach by Design," includes 5 Bach inventions, a Bach fugue and chorale, a Mozart Sonata and overture, a Chopin Mazurka, a Brahms Intermezzo, a Joplin Rag, a Bartók "mikrokosmos", a Prokofiev sonata and a work in the style of its creator, David Cope. All works are performed by the program via a Yamaha Disklavier. The second CD, called "Classical Music Composed by Computer," features human performances of works in the styles of Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Joplin, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, and Cope. The third CD, called Virtual Mozart, contains a symphony and concerto in the style of Mozart. The fourth CD, called Virtual Bach, contains a keyboard concerto, cello suite, and a concerto grosso in the style of Bach. To read about Experiments in Musical Intelligence go to the Experiments in Musical Intelligence page. To purchase and/or listen to Experiments in Musical Intelligence music go to the Spectrum Press page.
About Computers and Musical Style:
-Leonard Meyer, author of Style and Music
"Cope's work may be the first to bring to the broader community of scholars a host of issues that have been hotly discussed by biotechnology and artificial intelligence researchers in recent years.Ê.Ê.Ê. It is an original and important undertaking that deserves the attention of all who share this interest."
Eleanor Selfridge-Field Journal of the American Musicological Society
-Fred Lerdahl, co-author of A Generative Theory of Tonal Music
Despite the fact that Cope's vision of human creativity is radically different from my own, I admire enormously what he has achieved. Indeed, this lovingly written book about a deeply held vision of musical creativity should, I think, earn its place as one of the most significant adventures of the late twentieth century."
- Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gšdel, Escher, Bach and Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
--Margaret A. Boden, Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences, University of Sussex, Author of "The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms"
--Raymond Kurzweil, inventor and author of The Age of Intelligent Machines and The Age of Spiritual Machines