Composer and pianist Dan Cavanagh has garnered numerous awards for his compositions, including Winner of the International Music Prizes for Excellence in Composition 2009 (sponsored by the National Academy of Music), a First Music Commission from the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Band Classic program, Honorable Mention in the 2007 Gil Evans/IAJE Commissioning Program, and Finalist in the 2002, 2005, and 2008 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers competitions. He has also been awarded ASCAPLUS awards for numerous performances of his works each year since 2004. His compositions have been performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Reno International Jazz Festival, the 2006 International Jazz Composer’s Symposium, and many other venues nationally and internationally. He has received commissions from a wide range of groups across North America, including trumpeter John Adler, bassist John Brown, the Kandinsky Trio, drummer Adonis Rose, the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra, Simpson College, Virginia Tech University, the University of Oregon, the University of Texas at Arlington, the Nova Jazz Orchestra, the Westwinds Jazz Orchestra in Calgary, AB, Canada, Willamette University, and numerous high school and middle school groups. His compositions for large jazz ensemble are published by Walrus Music and UNC Jazz Press.
Cavanagh’s work continues to be recorded. OA2 Records released a CD of his compositions for jazz big band, Pulse, on November 18, 2008. All Music Guide’s Ken Dryden writes that Pulse is an "auspicious and striking" release. The US Naval Academy Next Wave Big Band has recorded three of his charts for release on their 2010 CD, Just Getting Started, and trumpet player John Adler recorded "From the Barrage Comes Clarity"on his CD, Confronting Inertia, on Origin Classical in October 2009. The University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band included "Gozar" on their 2009 release. Bassist John Brown recorded three of his arrangements on his upcoming release Setting Standards. Cavanagh is currently working on composing the music for the upcoming Documentary Arts, Inc. film, The Beat Hotel.
At UT Arlington, he directs the jazz ensemble and teaches jazz composition and improvisation. He is active as a pianist and composer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, regularly performing with groups including the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra, the Adonis Rose Quintet, the Dan Cavanagh Trio, the Jaime Reyes Group, the Tim Ishii Quintet, Outburst!, and others. He has performed with jazz greats Bobby Shew, Adonis Rose, Jeff Coffin, John Riley, Jason Marsalis, Terrell Stafford, and others.
In 2004, Cavanagh received a master’s of music degree in jazz studies from the University of Oregon, and was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student in Jazz Studies award upon graduation. There he studied with noted jazz composer and saxophonist Steve Owen, jazz pianists Toby Koenigsberg and Randy Porter, and with classical composer Robert Kyr. Prior to that, he worked for MakeMusic! Inc., makers of Finale notation software. He received his undergraduate degree in Theory/Composition from St. Olaf College, where he studied jazz with Dave Hagedorn and composition with Tim Mahr, Mary Ellen Childs, Peter Hamlin, and Charles Forsberg.