Nancy Cooper

Nancy Cooper has been an adjunct member of the music faculty at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana, for 25 years, where she teaches organ, harpsichord, undergraduate and graduate music theory, as well as an occasional Baroque history survey or class piano section. She has been the organist and choir director at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church for 25 years as well, where she has overseen the installation of a wonderful two manual Richard Bond tracker instrument (1999). She also created an internship program, offering hands-on training to music students from the University who are considering a career in church music as a choir director, organist, or both; eight students have come through the program since its inception in 1999.
In recent years, Cooper has begun researching the life of her great aunt, Anna Maude Van Hoose, a professional pianist in the early 20th century. She has written articles about her for historical society journals in Michigan and New York, as well as in the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music. She has given presentations about Van Hoose’s life for the Western Association of Women Historians, and for a regional conference of the College Music Society, and will give a presentation at the CMS national conference in Santa Fe in October. She has begun writing a work of creative nonfiction about a group of musicians and artists, including Van Hoose, who gathered for a dinner party in Los Angeles in 1931, and is currently pitching it to literary agents.
This is not her first foray into post-grad-school-research. Right after Cooper moved to Montana, she began researching Thomas Jefferson’s music library, initially to learn more about Maria Cosway, in an attempt to unearth more of her musical compositions. She co-authored an article reflecting this research that was included in the most recent print edition of The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and another that was included in an Italian biography of Cosway. Cooper presented results of that research for the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition at The University of Virginia in 2004. She also was the music researcher for Ken Burns’ documentary, Jefferson, and performed as a keyboardist on the soundtrack.

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