Van Cooper is an eclectic composer. He was always drawn to music with high production values, dense instrumentation, and unexpected changes. From the rocking “Big Trouble” to the atmospheric “ Awake Softly” disks Van has expressed his musical history. Trained on clarinet and saxophone Van learned the importance of the “parts”. Self taught guitarist and pianist, Van continued to expand his repertoire. “I can’t get a gig as a drummer, but I can keep a beat”....his neighbors were tolerant.
Composing music for stage and commercials, Van honed his creative point of view, as well as his happiness to be working alone. Playing all the parts he heard made his compositions direct and individualistic.
Van turned his musical vision to atmospheric, or New Age, compositions. “ Awake Softly” was composed for relaxation and yoga. The themes are gentle and peaceful, yet there is an underlying element of drama.
“...Late Night Holiday Listening” was recorded on Van’s home, a Classic Chris Craft. “ A perfect studio for me, with great acoustics and gentle motion”. An instrumental Holiday disk, “...Late Night Holiday Listening” offers new direction for classic Holiday songs. Perhaps one review stated it best:
author: Jim Lewin
“Mr. Cooper has given us a gift with this disc of innovations on traditional holiday classics. And he has done so by avoiding the easy traps that capture many artists when working with this material. He isn't just going up-tempo or "jazzing it up" just for its own, self-indulgent sake. There is respect for the original. At the same time, there is innovation in mood, in instrumentation and overall flavor. At times, you can almost hear him place his tongue firmly in his cheek when, for example, he pays homage to both Robert Burns and Peter Gunn on "Auld Lang Syne". This is a disc that your Mom would like. This is a disc that your daughter would like. And this is a disc that you will like very much. I'm looking forward to his next one!”
Van’s newest, and most complex release, is “ Symph “. An hour long symphony that embodies sweeping themes and a vast array of instrumentation. Playing each part, in an authentic style, was time consuming. “ I work quickly, but Symph took 21 months” Van said. Each note, each phrase, each crescendo was examined and reexamined. The result is a stunning accomplishment. From sweeping themes to playful moods, from dramatic discord to complex dissident harmonies....” Symph “ is a newly born classic.