ELKINS - Davis & Elkins College will present The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director Grant Cooper in concert Sunday, September 30, at 3 p.m. in Harper-McNeeley Auditorium. Part of the Orchestra’s fall tour, the program will feature Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 in B Flat Major (Op. 60) and Violin Concerto in D Major (Op. 61) with Violin Soloist Michael Ludwig.
"The WVSO looks forward every season to performing throughout the state,” says WVSO President David Gross. “By performing in West Virginia communities outside our Charleston home, we hope to not only highlight the orchestra, but the many fantastic cultural resources in our host communities. We are grateful for the enthusiasm of the sponsors, venues and local audiences that allow the WVSO to showcase the best that West Virginia has to offer. Our desire is to facilitate a state-wide appreciation, allowing the WVSO to serve its role as the orchestra for all West Virginians.”
The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra is West Virginia’s premier performing arts organization, presenting more than 50 concerts annually to audiences throughout the Mountain State. Programs include Symphonic, ZMM Pops and City National Bank Family Concert Series, performances by the Montclaire String Quartet, collaborations with the Charleston Ballet and other WV Arts Organizations, and nationally award-winning education programs. The Symphony’s home is the world-class Maier Foundation Performance Hall at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston, WV.
Tickets for the D&E Presentation are available online now at www.dne.musictoday.com. They may also be purchased at the door prior to the performance. Prices are $15 for adults, $10 for senior and students under 18 with ID, and free to D&E students, faculty and staff.
Michael Ludwig, violin
Hailed by Strad Magazine for his "effortless, envy-provoking technique … sweet tone, brilliant expression, and grand style," Michael Ludwig enjoys a multi-faceted career as a soloist, recording artist, and chamber musician. A highly sought-after soloist, he has performed on four continents, including appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, KBS Symphony in Seoul, Korea, Beijing Symphony, and the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, collaborating with such conductors as JoAnn Falletta, Sir Georg Solti, and John Williams among others. He has recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Lithuanian National Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Virginia Symphony.
Highlights of 2011 include performances in Germany, Spain, Poland, China, Korea, and Israel, as well as numerous appearances throughout the United States. This season marks the release of Ludwig's live recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Dvorak Romance with the Virginia Symphony, as well as a NAXOS recording of the Josef Suk Fantasy with the Buffalo Philharmonic. In August of 2011, Ludwig recorded Kenneth Fuchs' American Rhapsody with the London Symphony Orchestra in the famed Abbey Road Studios.
Ludwig's discography has drawn critical acclaim from both sides of the Atlantic. Fanfare magazine writes: "His phrasing is so sensitive--it could serve as an object lesson to every budding violinist." And BBC Music Magazine praises his "persuasive playing, silky tone, sensitivity to colour and flair for 'golden-age' style." Ludwig's recording of the Corigliano Red Violin Concerto with JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic is "hot, sharp, and close to the edge" writes critic Norman Lebrecht. This Grammy-nominated recording hit the Billboard Top 100 within the first week of its release. Other recordings include the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra and the Bruch Scottish Fantasy with the Virginia Symphony.
As a chamber musician, he has shared the stage with numerous acclaimed artists, such as Christoph Eschenbach, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Yefim Bronfman, Sarah Chang, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. His chamber music performances include appearances at the Prague Spring Music Festival, New Hampshire Music Festival, and a benefit appearance for the Terezin Music Foundation at Symphony Hall in Boston.
Ludwig has been featured numerous times on Performance Today, a program that reaches approximately 1.2 million listeners on 230 radio stations nationwide. Ludwig's media credits include live broadcasts at WRTI (Philadelphia) and WAMC (Albany, NY), as well as an appearance on the program "From the Top." He has been featured on Bulgarian National Radio, Balkan Bulgarian Television, and the Korean Broadcasting System.
In addition to his active performance and recording schedule, Ludwig provides master classes around the world. He has held faculty positions at Rowan University and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, as well as the School of Orchestral Studies in Saratoga Springs, NY, and the National Youth Orchestra Festival. He has also held the appointment of Sterne Virtuoso Artist-in-Residence at Skidmore College. Ludwig has given master classes and coachings with the New World Symphony. He has served as a member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and is currently a member of the Artistic Advisory Board for Access to Art, Inc.
Ludwig performs on a rare violin made in the late 1700's by the Cremonese master Lorenzo Storioni and a Dominique Peccatte bow. His violin has been lauded in a Fanfare review by Jerry Dubins as "one of the most gorgeous instruments I've ever heard." He studied violin with his father, Irving Ludwig, a violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as Raphael Bronstein and Josef Gingold. He attended the Curtis Institute of Music and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and Indiana University.
About Grant Cooper, Artistic Director & Conductor
Now serving in his eleventh WVSO season, Grant Cooper, Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, 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 Orchestra, where he gave almost 600 performances with that orchestra, appearing to critical acclaim on all the major series. Mr. Cooper is also Artistic Director of a summer festival, the Bach and Beyond Festival in Fredonia, New York.
Following a performance at the Henry A. Wood Promenade Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall under conductor Claudio Abbado, Mr. Cooper was invited by Maestro Abbado to join the orchestra of La Scala as solo trumpet. Instead, Mr. Cooper accepted a fellowship from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council for study with Bernard Adelstein and Gerard Schwarz in the United States. This, in turn, 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.
Mr. 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 Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Spokane Symphony, the Erie Philharmonic, the Kansas City Symphony, as well as with the Stamford (CT), Modesto (CA), and Youngstown (OH) Symphony Orchestras. He returned to New Zealand to conduct the millennium celebrations there with the Auckland Philharmonia. Mr. Cooper has also made successful appearances with the Jacksonville (FL), Elgin (IL), Wichita (KS) Symphony Orchestras and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra (NY) on its symphonic season.
Mr. Cooper has recorded for Delos International, Atoll, Ode, Mark, and Kiwi Pacific recordings. As a conductor, a CD devoted to the premier recordings of the string music of New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn has been enthusiastically received. Recently, Mr. Cooper released Points in a Changing Circle, featuring himself as trumpet soloist in works by New Zealand composers and a CD featuring three of his own works recorded with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra on a disc titled Boyz in the Wood. With this, Mr. Cooper has reached the milestone of having CD recordings of him as conductor, performer, and composer, all currently available in the catalogue.
Mr. Cooper was awarded the National Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Commission following competitive adjudication as part of the 2010 American Residency program of the NSO.
The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra Statewide Touring Program is partially underwritten by the Bernard H. and Blanche E. Jacobson Foundation and Daywood Foundation. The performance at Davis & Elkins College is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, DC. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.