W.Va. Symphony Orchestra to Perform

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra with Artistic Director and Conductor Grant Cooper will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at Colebank Hall on the Fairmont State main campus.

The concert titled "European Romances" will feature violin soloist Amelia Chan. Now entering its 66th season, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra presents more than 30 concerts annually to audiences throughout the Mountain State.

Tickets are $12 for general admission or $25 for a reserved seat and are available by calling the Marion County Chamber of Commerce at (304) 363-0442 or the FS Box Office at (304) 367-4240.

Amelia Chan currently holds the position of Concertmaster at the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and first violinist of the orchestra's ensemble-in-residence, the Montclaire String Quartet.

An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated with performers such as Lara St. John, Ed Aaron, Kyung Sun Lee, Peter Bruns, Erica Raum, the Whitman Quartet, members of the Vienna and New York Philharmonic and the Jupiter Chamber Players (N.Y.). She has appeared at the Costa Rica Music Festival, the Guatemala Music Festival, the Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival (N.Y.) and the New Jersey Chamber Music Society, among others. She has also appeared in concert series at venues such as St. Peter's Church, the Nicholas Roerich Museum and the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City.

As a soloist, she has appeared with the International Virtuosi Orchestra on tour in Central America, the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra (N.Y.), the Brooklyn Symphony (N.Y.) and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Orchestra on tour in Europe. Next season she will appear as soloist in Ravel's "Tzigane" and Sarasate's "Carmen Fantasy" with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Chan has been heard on WQXR in New York; WQED in Pittsburgh; West Virginia Public Radio in Charleston, W.Va.; the Scottish Radio in Scotland; and Radio 4 in Hong Kong. Other festival performances include the Pan Pacific Music Festival (Australia), the Luxembourg Strings Festival, the Pacific Music Festival (Japan), the Lyric Mountain Festival (Pa.) and the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (Scotland).

As Concertmaster, she has worked with eminent conductors such as Kurt Masur, Zednek Macal, Julius Rudel, Jorge Mester, Michael Tilson Thomas, Anton Coppola, Gunther Schuller, George Manahan and Sergiu Commissiona. While residing in New York, she also regularly performed as an extra with the New York Philharmonic.

Chan received her master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music Orchestral Program as a Whitaker Scholar and her bachelor's degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she moved to New York City in 1992 and lived there until relocating to Charleston in 2004.

Grant Cooper, Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, was named to the position in 2001. Cooper is also Resident Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, having begun his tenure in Syracuse in the fall of 1997. Cooper is Artistic Director of two summer festivals, the Bach and Beyond Festival and the Anchorage Festival of Music in Alaska.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, he is the son of a professional opera singer. Cooper sang and acted in his first opera at age 4 and studied piano and music theory prior to college. After completing his degree in Pure Mathematics at the University of Auckland, his performing career took him to the major concert halls of the world from Beijing to London. Following a performance at the Henry A. Wood Promenade Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall under conductor Claudio Abbado, Cooper was invited to join the orchestra of La Scala as solo trumpet. Instead, Cooper accepted a fellowship from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council for study with Gerard Schwarz in the United States. This led to performances in New York's Carnegie Hall and at Tanglewood under Arthur Fiedler, where he also performed as principal trumpet under conductors Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa and Sir Neville Marriner, among others.

Cooper was guest conductor of the XIVth Commonwealth Games closing ceremonies, appearing with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as soloist. In Europe, his engagement as guest conductor for the Mozart Wochen of the Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele prompted high critical praise.
In past seasons, Cooper has appeared regularly as guest conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestras of Buffalo and Rochester. In recent years he has made his debuts with the Spokane Symphony, the Erie Philharmonic, the Kansas City Symphony and with Syracuse Opera, conducting Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte," as well as with the Stamford (Conn.) Symphony Orchestra. He returned to New Zealand to conduct the millennium celebrations there with the Auckland Philharmonia. This year, he will return as guest conductor to Ottawa's Thirteen Strings for a seventh consecutive season as well as a return engagement with Syracuse Opera, conducting "The Barber of Seville." A commissioned composer, Cooper has just completed a new work for soprano and orchestra titled "A Song of Longing, Though..." with poetry by Tom Beal.

Cooper resides in Charleston with his wife, Margie, and daughters, Jessica and Rachel.

For a current WVSO concert schedule and ticket information, visit the WVSO web site: www.wvsymphony.org.