David Cooper was appointed principal horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Riccardo Muti in 2019 and served in that capacity until 2023. Previously, he was principal horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, a position he held since 2013 after joining the ensemble as third horn in 2011. He also served as principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic from 2017–18; acting principal horn with the Victoria Symphony in Victoria, British Columbia, from 2006 until 2008; and co-associate principal horn of the Fort Worth Symphony from 2008 through 2011. He has performed as guest principal horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Liceu Opera in Barcelona, Spain. Cooper is an avid chamber musician and performs as soloist all over the world.
Cooper began his horn studies with Dale Bartlett in Lansing, Michigan. He comes from a horn-playing family, where both his uncle and grandmother performed as professional horn players in the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. While still in high school, Cooper began performing with the Michigan State University orchestra and later went on to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, where he earned his bachelor's degree in music. While at Curtis, Cooper received a Tanglewood Fellowship and later spent three consecutive summers at Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont beginning in 2011. He studied with Jerome Ashby while at Curtis, and Eric Ruske was his main teacher after leaving Curtis. In his free time, Cooper enjoys being a father, Pilates and swimming, and he loves animals and being outdoors.