Young Artists Orchestra

Young Artists Orchestra Series
Venue / Time
Guilford College - Dana Auditorium
8:00 PM
Featuring

JOSÉ-LUIS NOVO
CONDUCTOR

GRANT COOPER
CONDUCTOR

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Monday, December 18
Young Artists Concerto Competition Winners

Grant Cooper, conductor

Intermission
BARTÓK
Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116

Introduzione: Andante non troppo
Presentando le coppie: Allegro scherzando
Elegia: Andante non troppo
Intermezzo Interrotto: Allegretto
Finale: Pesante — Presto

José-Luis Novo, conductor

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.

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, he served as assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under the direction of both music director emeritus Jesús López-Cobos and former music director Paavo Järvi, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the late Erich Kunzel. He has been on the conducting faculty at the Eastern Music Festival since 1999, where he currently holds the position of Resident Conductor.

 

Some of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra's highlights during Maestro Novo's tenure include a 2006 debut concert appearance at the Music Center at Strathmore, a 2008 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award, a national broadcast on NPR's Performance Today, a 2012 return appearance at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center with world-renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves for the ASO's 50th Anniversary Gala Concert, and the launching of the ASO's first commercial CD commemorating the 300th anniversary of the signing of Annapolis' Royal Charter. Additionally, the League of American Orchestras recognized the ASO's potential and selected it nationwide as one of only five participants in the Institutional Vision Leadership Initiative two-year seminar (2005-2007). The successful partnership between Mr. Novo and the ASO has received consistent critical acclaim: "Not only did he have an outstandingly clear view of Ravel's piece, but he was able to bring his musicians to the peak of instrumental execution as they kept up with his every nuance and inflection. The end result was one of the most extraordinary readings of Ravel's well-known piece that I have even encountered: fast without blurring instrumental lines; sinuous and alluring without distortion or over-statement; and just plain wonderful." The Capital Gazette. "Novo's feeling for Bartók's arch form unified it all and gave this performance a sweep and power that were truly memorable." The Washington Post. "...the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra unleashed a nasty, unremittingly exciting Shostakovich 10th that showed off the strengths of the ensemble that already has been reconfigured during Novo's brief tenure." The Baltimore Sun.

 

Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include debut appearances with the Rochester and Fresno Philharmonic Orchestras, return appearances with the Baltimore Symphony, Symphoria (former Syracuse Symphony), Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, and 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, among others, appearances with the Symphony Silicon Valley, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Syracuse, Modesto, Tulsa, Windsor, Stamford, and Tallahassee 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 Música in Barcelona, and the Echternach Festival Orchestra at the Kennedy Center and on tour in Luxembourg and Germany.

While maintaining a relevant 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 such as the Curtis Institute Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, the University of Maryland, Bard Conservatory and Ithaca College Symphony Orchestras, the National Youth Orchestra of Spain and the Portuguesa State Youth Orchestra of the Venezuelan El Sistema.

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