The son of a frustrated concert pianist, Cope remembers crawling around under his father’s piano listening to the music of Chopin, Schumann, and Rachmaninov.
“No matter how hard I tried I could not escape from the fact that I was a musician, and that was my destiny,” Cope explains. “Music is what I am.”
Cope has played piano, cello, and bass, in addition to conducting and composing, but still finds time for his other interests. He loves math and astrophysics, and sometimes builds telescopes. He is also working on a trilogy of novels featuring a fictional Emily Howell, just for fun.
Cope received degrees in composition from Arizona State University and the University of Southern California. He has since been a guest composer or lecturer at over 30 universities, and has written about 18 books on his work and contemporary music in general. Cope himself—without EMI or Emily Howell—has published over 70 compositions, featured in thousands of performances in the US and abroad.
Those who know Cope primarily as a firebrand avant-garde or experimental composer will be surprised to hear the nature of his compositions with Emily.