Grant Cooper, Artistic Director and Conductor
Grant Cooper, Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, was named to the position in March 2001, and officially began his duties as the 9th conductor in the WVSO’s history on July 1, 2001. From 1997-2007, Mr. Cooper served as Resident Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony, appearing to critical acclaim on all the major series. On July 3, 2013, Mr. Cooper gave his 600th performance with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. During the summer, Mr. Cooper is Artistic Director of the Bach and Beyond Festival in Fredonia, New York, and serves as resident conductor at the Eastern Music Festival.
In the calendar year 2013, Mr. Cooper traveled to New Zealand on four occasions to conduct the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in a national tour of a newly commissioned work by composer Gareth Farr for orchestra and theater ensemble, titled Sky Dancer. Also in 2013, Mr. Cooper made his debut conducting the Kennedy Center Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
In their March 2009 Pops concerts, the WVSO premiered Mr. Cooper’s original scores for two Charlie Chaplin films: The Immigrant and Easy Street. Mr. Cooper’s original concert work for soprano and orchestra entitled A Song of Longing, Though..., with poetry by Tom Beal, was premiered by the orchestra in April 2007 and was performed by the Chautauqua Symphony in 2010. 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, was premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in May 2012 and will be included in this season’s concerts by the Montclaire String Quartet.
In the spring of 2012, Mr. Cooper was honored by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin as the recipient of a Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts.
CRITICAL ACCLAIM FOR GRANT COOPER AND THE WVSO
"The conductor Grant Cooper's interpretation was an eye-opener in its formal solidity, graceful lines and sparkling textures. The orchestra sounded radiant...
"... Cooper kept the complex overlapping and crossing rhythms under tight control without robbing them of vivacity. The orchestra responded like a vast color wheel, spinning off hues sparkling or drenching. String textures were notably rich and transparent while winds and brass played with virtuosic flair." -Charleston Gazette (January 2009)
"The conductor Grant Cooper led the scrupulously polished accompaniment with elan. The myriad little solo moments for winds and strings shone and the horns, trumpets, and timpani sounded robust. This was one of the finest performances I have heard in 18 seasons as a music critic." -Charleston Gazette (April 2008)
“Cooper's orchestra attained that luxurious amber varnish tone of a fine Central European orchestra.” - Charleston Daily Mail (February 2003)
“All sections of the orchestra soared like eagles under the confident hand of Cooper.” - Charleston Daily Mail (April 2002)
“The results were magical, a new high for the orchestra's quality of performance.” - Charleston Gazette (April 2002)
“ New conductor Grant Cooper has been added to this established orchestra and together they make music better than I ever dared imagine.”
- Charleston Daily Mail (September 2001)
“…first-rate music making with plenty of poetry and power... the orchestra sounded polished and confident.” - Charleston Gazette (September 2001)
Andrew and Amy Vaughan Student Symphonic Fellowship 2014-2015
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this musical fellowship is to develop and encourage West Virginia high school students (grades 9-12) who actively study music to explore professional careers related to a music discipline. This is an extensive, monitored, and time-intensive training program structured to take place primarily outside school hours.
In an effort to open the program to as many student musicians as possible, we invite applications from instruments outside the standard orchestral complement including piano and saxophone. Each fellowship will be individually designed to further develop an individual’s potential as a musician.
There are many benefits to participating in the fellowship:
ELIGIBILITY: The program is open to all West Virginia high school students (grades 9-12).
Strings (harp, violin, viola, cello, bass)
STANDARDS OF ACCEPTANCE: The program has been adapted to include serious music students with talent and a strong desire for success as a future professional musician or educator. (Financial resources are available through this program for students whose economic situation or geographic location might otherwise preclude continuing serious music study.)
AUDITION/INTERVIEW FINALIST COMPETITION: A small number of finalists will be invited to advance from the application round to the two-part interview/audition finalist round on Saturday, December 6, 2014 (at the Clay Center-Walker Theater). Members of the selection committee will conduct an interview session with each candidate to further gauge commitment to music and this overall program. The finalists will be asked a broad range of questions that will explore each candidate’s goals, interests, and aptitude. Each candidate will audition on his primary instrument for the selection committee. (Note: This date conflicts with SAT test date for December 6, 2014. Please take note that program auditions and interviews take place in the morning.)
Music performed for the audition on instruments other than piano would ideally be one or more movements from the standard concerto repertoire with orchestra, originally composed for your instrument. You must audition with piano accompaniment. You may choose to bring your own accompanist or perform with accompanist provided by the WVSO (at no charge to you) on the day of the audition. Students auditioning on piano should prepare a major solo movement from the standard sonata repertoire for your instrument.
OBLIGATION OF FELLOWS: The fellowship requires a high level of focus and desire to further one’s music education and academic/professional goals. There is a significant time commitment required for this fellowship. Fellows will be expected to attend rehearsals for three symphonic concerts. Fellows are expected to do a significant level of research on orchestral repertoire, historic, and modern composers. Most resources are available in local libraries, the Internet, and through school systems. Parts and study-scores for each rehearsal session are provided by the WVSO.
APPLICATION SUBMISSION INFORMATION:
Andrew and Amy Vaughan Student Symphonic Fellowship
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