College of Liberal Arts
UT Arlington Music
UT Arlington Music Department

Mr. Dan Cavanagh

Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, Professor of Music
Area: Jazz, Composition

Phone: 817-272-3291
Office Location: University Hall 210
Degree(s): M.M. University of Oregon, B.M. St. Olaf College
Mentis Profile:


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 for his work for trumpet and piano, from the barrage comes clarity. 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 performers across North America and Europe. His work Reach for violin and double bass can be heard on the upcoming album, The Diaries of Adam and Eve, by violinist Martha Walvoord and bassist Jack Unzicker, due out on Albany Records on November 1, 2019. He has released four jazz CDs as a leader, including Pulse and Heart of the Geyser 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’s compositions for jazz big band are published by UNC Jazz Press, Sierra Music Publications, and E-Jazz Lines (formerly Walrus Music Publishing).

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. He has been a finalist in the EuropaFest Jazz Contest in Bucharest, Romania, and in the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Piano Competition. As the Executive Producer of UT Arlington Records, he spearheads a record label that involves students and faculty in all aspects of production and management of a recording project, from conception to release. He serves as the Co-Chair of Region VI for the Society of Composers, Inc., an international organization dedicated to new and contemporary music and composers. From 2018-2020 Cavanagh served as Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is now the Interim Associate Dean for the College of Liberal Arts.