Dan Caputo (b. 1991) is a Los Angeles-based composer of instrumental and electronic music. Seeking to create immersive experiences through curious and thought-provoking musical behaviors, his works make use of expansive soundscapes, microvariation, and layered musical references to explore the role of memory in aesthetic experience.
The recipient of an honorable mention in the 2019 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, Caputo’s Liminal was performed by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as part of the 2019 NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute with conductor Cristian Macelaru and Institute Director Steven Mackey. Invited as composer-in-residence for the cancelled 2020 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Caputo’s Liminal for orchestra will be programmed in a future season.
Caputo’s recent works can be heard on the albums Every Now and Then (2023) and Strata (2021), available on Bandcamp and all streaming platforms. Every Now and Then is a 25-minute electronic work in which sheets of musical activity interact to form complex intergrowths. Strata is a collection of three large-scale works, each piece an archaeology of sound and memory united thematically through the concept of layers.
Caputo’s Memoryscapes for sinfonietta and electronics is a 25-minute composition that constructs immersive sonic landscapes built on key moments in four specific works from the past 500 years of Western art music. Written for the USC Thornton Edge ensemble under the direction of Donald Crockett, Memoryscapes was recorded and premiered in early 2020.
A composition fellow at the inaugural Blackbird Creative Lab in 2017, Caputo worked closely with members of renowned ensemble Eighth Blackbird and composition faculty Jennifer Higdon and Ted Hearne over the course of two weeks to premiere Dream Mechanics, a work commissioned for the Lab.
Dan’s compositions have been presented by institutions including the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Hear Now Music Festival, the Blackbird Creative Lab, the USC Thornton Symphony, USC Thornton Edge, the Oh My Ears New Music Festival, and ClarinetFest. His composition awards include an honorable mention in the 2019 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (Liminal for orchestra), the Hans J. Salter Endowed Music Award (Rictus for mixed ensemble), Peter David Faith Memorial Award in Composition (out of nothing for piano trio), and a finalist placement in the 2017 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (out of nothing).
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Caputo holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from the University of Southern California (2019) and has additionally earned a M.Mus. from the University of Texas at Austin (2015) and a B.M. from USC (2013). His mentors include composers Ted Hearne, Sean Friar, and Donald Crockett.
On faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music since 2018, Dan serves as a Lecturer in the department of Composition / Theory and Analysis.