Meet the Cone Composers: Dan Caputo

June 28, 2019

Dan Caputo is a Los Angeles-based composer of instrumental and electronic music. His recent works explore the potential ways detailed aural textures and curious musical behaviors can elicit complex psychological responses. Caputo’s music is further interested in microvariation in repetitious contexts, perceptual extremes and musical intertextuality.


Q: What experiences have shaped your path as a composer?
A: I owe everything I do to the many, many people who have shaped the way I think and create. In terms of personal experiences, I often find that the most impactful moments occur when I become lost in the specialness of a listening experience, whether this takes place at a particularly compelling new music concert or while alone outdoors.

Q: How would you describe your music to a listener?
A: My music generally aims to channel complex emotional and psychological states. I am primarily interested in large-scale musical interactions, and the types of musical materials I choose generally stem from the types of behavioral juxtapositions I seek to create. As for how it sounds, I am interested in exploring the full range of note to noise and all the detail that lies between; I also enjoy drawing out musical textures in order to provide the time and space for deep listening.

Q: What inspired your Cone Institute work?
A: Liminal was composed during a period where I was having trouble falling asleep easily. I became fascinated with the ways my thoughts behaved as I slipped between wakefulness and sleep. Liminality in general refers to transitional stages in a process; as it relates to sleep, this is the point during which the frameworks we use to understand the world around us break down. Rather than try to force this type of consciousness on an audience, my piece aims to reflect the specific behaviors and patterns I was experiencing night to night as I was kept up by cycling thoughts and surreal intrusions.

Q: What do you hope to gain from the Cone Institute experience?
A: The Cone Institute is an amazing opportunity to get firsthand experience with the entire ecosystem of a professional orchestra. Of particular value is the time we will spend in rehearsal, as there is so much to learn regarding what it takes to realize one’s compositional ideas with such a large group of musicians in one space.

Q: A left-field question: if you were a baseball player, what would you choose for your walk-up music?
A: Part of me wants to go nostalgic and pick the music used at the start of local Seattle Mariners broadcasts from the mid-90s. My other choice would be from Disney’s Mulan: Jerry Goldsmith’s synth-heavy jam from when Mulan decides to disobey her father and join the army.


Connect with Caputo

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Don’t miss the world premiere of Liminal with the NJSO on July 20 at Richardson Auditorium in Princeton!

» Concert info, tickets and more about Caputo and Liminal


Meet the 2019 Cone Composers

» Dan Caputo

» Patrick O’Malley

» Iván Enrique Rodríguez

» Bora Yoon

More Info for Scores: The Cone Institute Concert
July 20, 2019 
2019-20 season

Scores: The Cone Institute Concert

2019–20 Season

STEVEN MACKEY Institute director and host


Performed in Princeton
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