Young Artists Orchestra

Young Artists Orchestra Series
Venue / Time
Guilford College - Dana Auditorium
8:00pm
Share On
Thursday, July 20
Koussevitsky
Double Bass Concerto, op.3

Allegro
Andante
Allegro

          Leonid Finkelshteyn, double bass

Intermission
Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op.36

Andante sostenuto - Moderato con anima
Andantino in modo di Canzone
Scherzo: Pizzicato ostinato. Allegro
Finale:. Allegro con fuoco

Grant Cooper has served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra since 2001, where he has conducted close to 750 public performances. He was formerly Resident Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra for ten seasons. 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.

Mr. Cooper has been a frequent guest conductor for many American symphonies, including Houston, Buffalo, Rochester, Spokane, Kansas City, New Mexico, and Chautauqua. In recent seasons he made his debut appearances as guest conductor with the Jacksonville, Elgin, and Wichita symphonies. A gifted opera conductor, his recent repertoire includes Cosi fan tutteThe Marriage of FigaroThe Barber of SevilleToscaLa bohème, and Carmen. For several summers, he has conducted the ballet season at Chautauqua Institution, NY, featuring Charlotte Ballet’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 BearsBoyz 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 when he received the Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts.

Mr. Cooper has recorded for Delos International, Atoll, Ode, Mark, and Kiwi Pacific recordings.

Bassist Leonid Finkelshteyn enjoys an active career as a performer and teacher. Currently principal bassist of the North Carolina Symphony, which he joined in 1996, and the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra in North Carolina since 1999, Mr. Finkelshteyn also serves on the faculty of East Carolina University, North Carolina State University and the Eastern Music Festival; in addition to maintaining a large private studio.

As a soloist, he has made numerous concerto appearances with the North Carolina Symphony, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra in Wisconsin including works by Bottesini ,Bruch, Koussevitsky and Tubin. Mr. Finkelshteyn has also performed the North American premiere of Gareth Glyn’s Microncerto and the world premiere of J.Mark Scearce’s Antaeus, a concerto for double bass and orchestra which the NorthCarolina Symphony commissioned for Mr. Finkelshteyn. 

Other artistic pursuits have included tours with the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic. In addition, Mr. Finkelshteyn has appeared with the St. Louis, Cincinnati and Dallas Symphonies as guest principal Bassist. He also performed with the All Star Orchestra under the direction of Gerard Schwarz as part of a series of programs for PBS.

A native of Leningrad in the former Soviet Union, he joined the Symphony Orchestra of the Leningrad Philharmonic at only 19
years of age, while still a student at the Leningrad Conservatory from which he earned a M.M., graduating with honors. His primary teachers were Peter Weinblatt and Sergei Akopov. Eventually, he became principal bassist of the Symphony Orchestra and was a prize winner of the Soviet Union Bass Competition before emigrating to the U.S. in 1990.

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