Biography

Chris Cooper is a guitarist, violinist, songwriter, poet, and teacher living in the San Francisco Bay area.  Over the years, he has played in a variety of ensembles, from classical to rock, pop, blues, country, R&B, Latin, and jazz.  This eclecticism is reflected in his music:  not a mishmash of styles, but a collection of works, each authentic to its genre.  The purpose of this website is to present his music to listeners, performing artists, and industry professionals, that they might find pieces that match their interests.

Chris grew up in Chicago in a musical family.  He began violin studies as a child with George Perlman.  In college, he picked up the guitar and began writing songs and poetry.  He moved to Santa Cruz, California, where he played in a variety of groups, including the Santa Cruz Symphony under George Barati and the Cabrillo College Big Band, where he studied jazz arranging with Ray Brown.  He came to the Bay Area in 1981, joined the Berkeley Symphony under Kent Nagano, and performed, toured and recorded with top Latin bands, including Orquesta Batachanga, Charanga Tumbao y Cuerdas, and Conjunto Cespedes.  He got married, raised a family, and made a career shift to teaching, working in elementary schools until retiring in 2014.  During this time, he continued writing and performing music, most notably with West Coast Hammond B-3 legend Otis Riley and with the classic rock band, Classified. 

Chris continues to perform on violin as concertmaster of the Castro Valley Chamber Orchestra, first violin with the Summer Quartet, and in recital with pianists Jenny Yang and Eleanor Cohen.  He is regularly heard on guitar as a soloist and with Bay Area bands like the Riptides, the Ambassadors of Jazz, George and the Kool Kats, the Buddhist Squirrels, and Ruby's in Town. He is pleased to present the first collection of his compositions with the album, In Orbit, and is looking forward to the publication of his first volume of poetry.  He hopes to license music to artists and commercial media and to sell to interested listeners and fans.  Please feel free to listen, comment, and sign up to his mailing list.