University Bands

Dr. John Cooper, Director of Jazz Studies

John Cooper

John Cooper is a jazz artist and composer who makes his home in central western Illinois and is Professor of Music at Western Illinois University. 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. At WSU Cooper studied with with John Trudell and Gordon Stump and Matt Michaels, as well as other prominent Detroit area musicians. While in Detroit, he performed with the Johnny Trudell Orchestra as well as jazz artists Jon Faddis and Carl Fontana and other national touring acts including The Temptations, Rich Little, Joan Rivers, The Four Tops, 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.

He currently teaches at Western Illinois University and is the Director of Jazz Studies. Cooper has performed as principal trumpet of the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, and is very active as a jazz artist, performing with his quartet throughout the Illinois as well as with Detroit area jazz artists. Cooper is also a faculty jazz instructor at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and performs as lead trumpet for the Blue Lake Monster Big Band where he has permiered several compositions for jazz orchestra.

His first solo release, Watching for Watchung Plaza, has received critical acclaim from Detroit Free Press music critic, Mark Stryker. The recording is available at online CD outlets such as

Office Phone: (309) 298-2168
Office: Sallee Hall 210, Macomb, IL 61455

WIU Jazz Studies