Lippe studied composition and computer music with Larry Austin at the University Of South Florida in 1976-77 and followed various composition and analysis seminars with Pierre Boulez, Franco Donatoni, Klaus Huber, Olivier Messiaen, Krzysztof Penderecki, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Iannis Xenakis. In 1980-83, he studied and did research in the fields of computer and formalized music with G.M. Koenig and Paul Berg at the Instituut Voor Sonologie. Cort Lippe lived in France from 1983 to 1994, where he worked for three years at the Iannis Xenakis' Centre d'Etudes de Mathematique et Automatique Musicales (CEMAMu) and attended composer's courses on acoustics and formalized music at Sorbonne. Lippe also spent almost a decade at IRCAM, where he gave courses and worked on the original development team for Max software.
He conducted research on interactive music, granular sampling, score following, spectral processing, FFT-based spatial distribution/delay, acoustic instrument parameter mapping, instrument design, and gave over 100 presentations and lectures around the world. Lippe was a visiting professor at the Sonology Department of Kunitachi College Of Music in Japan (1992, 1999-2007, and again in 2010), as well as the Carl Nielsen Conservatory of Music in Denmark (1999-2001), and New York University (2007).
The composer commissioned works for the International Computer Music Association, the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast, the Dutch Ministry of Culture, and the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie. He also wrote for many world-renowned musicians, including bassist Robert Black, percussionists Pedro Carneiro and Patti Cudd, tubists Mel Culbertson and Melvyn Poore, clarinetist Esther Lamneck, sho player Mayumi Miyata, harpist Masumi Nagasawa, and bass clarinetist Harry Sparnaay. Since 1993, Lippe has been performing together with Zack Settel as the Convolution Brothers duo (Miller Puckette also joined the band in 2004).
Lippe's compositions have received numerous international awards, including first prizes from the Irino Competition (Japan), the Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition (France), El Callejon Del Ruido Competition (Mexico), USA League-ISCM Competition (USA), and the Leonie Rothschild Competition (USA), as well as honorable mentions from the Prix Ars Electronica 1993 and 1995.