Conductors : Artists
EMF Music Director amd renowned American conductor Gerard Schwarz is internationally recognized for his deeply moving performances, innovative programming, and extensive recording history.
One of Spain's most promising conductors, José-Luis Novo is currently music director and conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (MD) and the Binghamton Philharmonic (NY). Prior to these appointments, Mr. Novo served as assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under the direction of both music director emeritus Jesús López-Cobus and music director Paavo Järvi, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the late Erich Kunzel. He has been the resident conductor at EMF since 1999.
Most recently, Mr. Novo made an impressive Kimmel Center debut in Philadelphia, conducting the Curtis Institute Orchestra in a last-minute replacement for an ailing Maestro Otto Werner Mueller. Prior guest conducting engagements have included appearances with the Baltimore Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Syracuse, Modesto, Tulsa, Windsor, Stamford, Tallahassee, Springfield (Ohio), and Ridgefield symphonies; the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra; the Cleveland and Abilene philharmonics; the Tenerife, Principado de Asturias, and Castilla y León symphony orchestras; the City of Granada Orchestra; the Andrés Segovia Chamber Orchestra at the National Auditorium in Madrid; the Vallés Symphony Orchestra at the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona; and the Echternach Festival Orchestra at the Kennedy Center and on tour in Luxembourg and Germany.
While maintaining a promising professional conducting career, Mr. Novo has also developed a reputation as a keen educator of young musicians. He has held the positions of music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Miami University Symphony Orchestra; associate conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra; and assistant conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Spain and the Yale Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has conducted many noteworthy college and youth orchestras. Among these are the Curtis Institute Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra, the University of Maryland Symphony, the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, and the Portuguesa State Youth Orchestra of the Venezuelan El Sistema. In the summer of 1998 he took the National Youth Orchestra of Spain on a concert tour of Spain and Portugal, with performances at the Teatro Real in Madrid and the World Exposition in Lisbon.
Mr. Novo is a 2008 recipient of an ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award and a 2005 Heart of the Arts Award. He holds music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Yale University, and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels.
Grant Cooper has served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra since 2001. He was formerly Resident Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, for which he conducted over 600 public performances over a ten-year span. He also serves as Artistic Director of the Bach and Beyond Festival, and for several summers led the Anchorage Festival of Music in Alaska. As a conductor, Mr. Cooper is noted for his affinity for the music of virtually every era.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, the son of a professional opera singer, Cooper sang and acted in his first opera at age four. After completing his degree in Pure Mathematics at the University of Auckland, his performing career as a trumpeter took him to Beijing, London, and many major concert halls of the world. In 1976, Mr. Cooper accepted a fellowship from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council for trumpet study with Bernard Adelstein and Gerard Schwarz in the United States, where he also held a fellowship at Tanglewood.
Mr. Cooper was guest conductor of the XIVth Commonwealth Games closing ceremonies, appearing with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as soloist. Mr. Cooper's collaborations with artists such as Hilary Hahn, Midori, Elmar Oliviera, Barry Douglas, and Deborah Voigt have prompted critical praise for his skills as an accompanist. In Europe, his engagement as guest conductor for the Mozart Wochen of the Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele prompted high critical praise.
Mr. Cooper has been a frequent guest conductor for many American symphonies, including Houston, Buffalo, Rochester, Spokane, Kansas City, and Chautauqua. In recent seasons he made his debut appearances as guest conductor with the Jacksonville, Elgin, and Wichita symphonies. A gifted opera conductor as well, his recent repertoire includes Cosi fan tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville, Tosca, La bohème, and Carmen. For several summers, he has conducted the ballet season at Chautauqua Institution, NY, featuring North Carolina Dance Theatre's recreations of George Balanchine's choreography.
As a composer, Cooper's recent original music includes A Song of Longing, Though..., for soprano and orchestra and On the Appalachian Trail, a ballet. Mr. Cooper's original scores for two Charlie Chaplin films: The Immigrant and Easy Street, was premiered in March, 2009 and has since been performed by several orchestras on their Pops and Coffee series.
Mr. Cooper is especially passionate about creating works designed to introduce young audiences to the orchestra, including such works as Rumpelstiltzkin for narrator and orchestra, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Boyz in the Wood, for coloratura soprano and rap singer, and Song of the Wolf, for folk singer and orchestra His educational music is an eclectic blend of modern and established styles with interactive participation of the audience, a compositional style that reflects his belief that orchestral music is a living, vital, and relevant part of our society, able to be appreciated by all.
Cooper was awarded the National Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Commission following competitive adjudication as part of the 2010 American Residency program of the NSO. His new work, Octagons, for Clarinet and String Quartet, was premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in May of 2012.
Cooper's dedication to serving the West Virginia arts community was recognized in the spring of 2012 with his receiving the Governor's Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts.
Mr. Cooper has recorded for Delos International, Atoll, Ode, Mark, and Kiwi Pacific recordings. As a conductor, a CD devoted to the premier recordings of the string music of New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn has been enthusiastically received. Mr. Cooper has also released Points in a Changing Circle, featuring his work as a trumpet soloist in works by New Zealand composers as well as a CD featuring three of his own compositions recorded with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra on a disc titled Boyz in the Wood. With this, Mr. Cooper has reached the milestone of having CD recordings of him as conductor, performer, and composer, all currently available in the catalog.