Dan Cavanagh is a composer and pianist who has garnered numerous awards in both areas. He received a 2009 gold medal prize from the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition. In 2017 he was awarded a Special Judges’ Citation in the American Prize for Chamber Music Composition for his work for trumpet ensemble and drumset, Waves. As a composer Cavanagh has been commissioned to write for Latin Grammy-winning AfroBop Alliance, the legendary Patti LaBelle, and a wide range of classical and jazz groups across North America and Europe. He has released four jazz CDs as a leader, including Pulse (big band) and Heart of the Geyser (trio with Linda May Han Oh and Joe McCarthy) on Seattle’s OA2 Records, and two recordings with Minnesota-based vibraphonist Dave Hagedorn, Horizon and 20 Years. His music can be heard on many other recordings both classical and jazz. His film scoring work can be heard in the documentary The Beat Hotel, a film exploring the hotel in Paris in the late 1950s and early 1960s where the beat poets, led by Allen Ginsberg, lived and created much of their famous work. Cavanagh continues to be commissioned and programmed around the world.
Cavanagh has performed extensively in North America and Europe as a jazz pianist, and has also performed in Asia and Central America. He has appeared in concert with Grammy-winners Irma Thomas, Adonis Rose, and Joe McCarthy as well as many other jazz artists. He has been a finalist in the EuropaFest Jazz Contest in Bucharest, Romania, and in the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Piano Competition. Currently the Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington, he is a Professor of Music and served as Chair of the Department of Music from 2018-2020. Prior to his time as chair, he served as Director of the Music Industry Studies program and Assistant Director of the Jazz Studies program. He lives in Arlington, Texas with his family.