ITHACA COLLEGE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Grant Cooper, conductor
Michael Stern, graduate assistant
Yu Ray Chu**
Dylan Carrafiello Costa
* Pulcinella principal
** Shadow concertmaster
*** Firebird concertmaster
Born in New Zealand as the son of a professional opera singer, Grant Cooper sang and acted in his first opera at age four and studied piano and music theory prior to college.
After completing his degree in pure mathematics at the University of Auckland, he traveled to the United States for further studies in music. His initial opportunities as a conductor grew from his colleagues’ invitations to lead them in larger chamber ensemble performances. Since then, his many guest conducting engagements have included the Houston Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, The Florida Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, and Syracuse Opera, among many others. Recently, he has made successful debut appearances with the Kennedy Center Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and the Malaysian Philharmonic.
Cooper has just completed 17 seasons as artistic director and conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Prior to this, Cooper served as resident conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra for 10 seasons. He currently serves as artistic director of the annual Bach & Beyond festival in Fredonia, New York and as a resident conductor at the Eastern Music Festival.
A commissioned composer, Cooper’s concert works include A Song of Longing, Though…, for soprano and orchestra and a ballet, On the Appalachian Trail, which was premiered in 2010 at Chautauqua. His original film scores for two Charlie Chaplin movies have been performed around the world and he recently composed a chamber work on commission from the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Cooper is especially passionate about creating works designed to introduce young audiences to the orchestra and has created a substantial body of works for this purpose.
Cooper has recorded for Delos International, Atoll, Ode, Mark, and Kiwi Pacific recordings, and has the unique distinction of having CD recordings of himself as conductor, performer, and composer, all currently available in the catalog.
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. Fairmont State University conferred a Doctor of Letters degree in 2017 in recognition of Cooper’s dedication to the education of listeners of all ages.
Cooper previously served as Professor of Music at Ithaca College from 1993 - 2003.