West Virginia Wesleyan College to Host West Virginia Symphony Orchestra

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra (WVSO) will appear at West Virginia Wesleyan College on Friday, September 27 at 8 p.m. in the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts during Family Weekend.  The Orchestra is appearing at the College as part of the Arts Alive! series and is sponsored partly by the West Virginia Humanities Council.

The WVSO is under the direction of Artistic Director and Conductor Grant Cooper.  Cooper is the ninth conductor in the WVSO’s history, beginning his duties on July 1, 2001. From 1997-2007, Mr. Cooper served as Resident Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony, where he gave over 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, NY.  He has also appeared as the guest conductor of the XIVth Commonwealth Games closing ceremonies, appearing with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as soloist.

In past seasons, Cooper has appeared regularly as guest conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestras of Buffalo and Rochester and has made 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), Wichita (KS), and Youngstown (OH) Symphony Orchestras.  Cooper has also written original scores for two Charlie Chaplin films, which were premiered during the March 2009 WVSO Pops concerts.  Cooper’s first arrangement for the WVSO, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” was premiered at Symphony Sunday in June 2002, and has found a permanent place in the orchestra’s repertoire.

During the September 27 concert, the symphony will perform Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 Italian, and the Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto featuring cello prodigy, Daniel Kaler.

Kaler, a cello student of Professor Stephen Balderston of De Paul University School of Music, is a fifth generation musician.  As a chamber musician and a member of the Constellation Trio, he was awarded the first prize at the Jules Lazer National Chamber Music Competition in 2009. He remained in Constellation Duo with the pianist Yoan Ganev and they perform regularly in joined recitals around the Chicago area. Kaler’s most recent chamber music experience was his 2013 performance of Schubert’s C Major Quintet with the De Paul University School of Music String Faculty at De Paul University School of Music Concert Hall.

As a soloist, Kaler presented recitals at the Music Institute of Chicago and at the Players’ Theatre in Sarasota, FL, appeared as a soloist with the Northport Symphony Orchestra in Florida, the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra at De Paul University School of Music Concert Hall and with the Music Institute of Chicago Academy Orchestra at the Bennett Gordon Concert Hall in Ravinia, IL, performing works by Tchaikovsky, Kabalevsky, Popper, Faure and Elgar.

Kaler was the only classical musician to be featured as the youngest solo act to this day at the America’s Got Talent NBC show in Los Angeles in 2006. He is a regular guest artist at Chicago’s most prestigious concert series, such as the Stars of Tomorrow concert series, Northbrook Chamber Music Festival, Music In The Loft, Young Steinway Concert Series in Skokie Library, Concert Artist Series at the Northbrook library, The Chicago Cultural Center, Harris Theatre and Millennium Park.

Among his many awards are 1st Price at the University of Illinois Concerto Competition in 2012, 1st Prize and Virginia Geyser Scholarship Award at the Chinese Fine Arts  Society competition in 2012, 1st Prize at the Chinese Fine Arts Festival in honor of Confucius in 2010, 1st prizes at the Society of American Musicians Competition Intermediate Division in 2009, Junior Division in 2008 and Primary division in 2006, 1st Prize at the DePaul Concerto Festival in 2013 and 2009, 1st Prize at the Music Institute of Chicago Concerto Competition in 2008, among others.

He is currently in the 9th grade at the New Trier High School and lives with his family in Wilmette, IL.

This project is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, and free with a Family Weekend name tag.  For a full schedule of Arts Alive! events, please visit www.wvwc.edu/campus/artsalive.