WVSO to Present "Virtuosity Unleashed!" on March 4

Friday, February 19, 2010

The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra will perform on the Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College main campus in Fairmont at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4, in Colebank Hall.


For tickets, call the Box Office at (304) 367-4240 or order tickets online at www.fairmontstate.edu/tickets. Parking will be available on the top deck of the parking garage. FSU and Pierpont are committed to making performances and facilities accessible to all patrons. Large print programs and other accommodations for those with disabilities are available.

The concert titled "Virtuosity Unleashed!" will be under the direction of Grant Cooper, Artistic Director & Conductor of the WVSO. Ilya Kaler will be performing as violin soloist. Featured pieces will be Béla Bartók's "Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116" and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35."

Ilya Kaler is the only violinist ever to win Gold Medals at all three of the world's most prestigious competitions: the Tchaikovsky, the Sibelius and the Paganini competitions. Kaler is already being compared to the likes of Heifetz and Perlman. Kaler's recordings of the Paganini Caprices have been deemed by American Record Guide to be, "in a class by themselves" combining "the perfection, passion, and phrase-sculpting of Michael Rabin with the energy, excitement, and immediacy of Jascha Heifetz." His recordings of both Paganini Concertos and Caprices, the Schumann Sonatas, both Shostakovich Concertos, the Dvorak Concerto and the Glazunov Concerto have met with equally superlative acclaim. The Washington Post unabashedly lauds him as "a consummate musician, Kaler is in total control at all times, with a peerless mastery of his violin."

Born into a family of musicians in Moscow, Kaler showed enormous talent from an early age. At the Central Music School of the Moscow Conservatory, he studied under Zinaida Gilels and Yury Yankelevich. He continued his studies with Leonid Kogan and Viktor Tretyakov at the Moscow Conservatory, where he earned both master's and doctorate degrees and graduated with the Gold Medal Award. He also studied privately with Abram Shtern in the Soviet Union and the United States.

Kaler has earned rave reviews for solo appearances with distinguished orchestras throughout the world. He has performed with the Leningrad, Moscow and Dresden Philharmonic Orchestras, the Montreal Symphony, the Danish and Berlin Radio Orchestras and the Moscow and Zurich Chamber Orchestras, among others. His solo recitals have taken him throughout Europe, Scandinavia, East Asia and the former Soviet Union.

In recent years, Kaler has performed with the Detroit, Baltimore and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in the United States, and has toured Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, England, Venezuela and Japan. In Japan, he played with the New Japan Philharmonic, the Century Symphony Orchestra and the Hiroshima Symphony. Also an active chamber musician, Kaler has performed for several summers at the Newport Music Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. He was Professor of Violin at the Eastman School of Music, and for five years he served as Concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2001 to 2003, he served as Distinguished Professor of Music (Linda and Jack Gill Chair in Violin) at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Ind. Most recently, he has been appointed Professor of Violin at DePaul University, School of Music in Chicago. His most recent recording for Ongaku is the Messiaen "Quartet for the End of Time" with Jonathan Cohler which will be released shortly.

Grant Cooper, Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, officially began his duties as the ninth conductor in the WVSO's history on July 1, 2001. From 1997-2007, 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. Cooper is also Artistic Director of a summer festival, the Bach and Beyond Festival in Fredonia, N.Y.

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 state arts organizations and a national award-winning education program. The Symphony's home is the world-class Maier Foundation Performance Hall at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston. 

Ilya Kaler