Robert Cooper

Conductor

 

Robert Cooper

Conductor

 

One of Canada’s foremost choral conductors, Robert Cooper is currently Artistic Director of Chorus Niagara, Orpheus Choir of Toronto, the Opera in Concert Chorus, and conducts the Ontario Male Chorus.  Chorus Niagara gained international fame through its video on Youtube where an unsuspecting crowd in a mall food court was treated to a flash mob rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus.

As a frequent guest of Canadian opera companies, Mr. Cooper has conducted Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles for Manitoba Opera, La Cenerentola for Ottawa’s Opera Lyra and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro for Pacific Opera Victoria where he also conducted Les Pêcheurs de Perles. He conducted Orchestra London’s concert performance of L’Elisir d’Amore, led a gala evening of Italian Opera for Symphony Nova Scotia and has appeared a number of times as guest conductor at Festival 500 in St. John’s Newfoundland. Hailed for the musical values he brought to Toronto Operetta Theatre’s production of The Student Prince, Mr. Cooper was invited back for Das Land des Lächelns. In St. Catharines and Welland, Ontario, he was on the podium for performances of Mikado and Pirates of Penzance.  Mr. Cooper has been involved in the presentation of more than 80 operas, receiving particular acclaim for conducting VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert’s orchestral performances of Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride, Weber’s Der Freischütz, Donizetti’s La Favorita, Thomas’ Hamlet, Massenet’s Cendrillon and Le Cid, Saint Saëns’ Samson et Dalila, Bellini’s La Sonnambula, and Thomas’ Mignon celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Opera in Concert, a performance which was broadcast on CBC Radio Two. Mr. Cooper debuted with Ottawa’s Thirteen Strings and was invited back for a special choral/orchestra programme. In addition to his busy schedule with his own choral organizations, he has been a guest conductor for Thirteen Strings in Ottawa and Toronto Operetta Theatre (Iolanthe, Pirates of Penzance) .

Mr. Cooper’s choirs have performed in prestigious festivals including the Guelph Spring Festival and the International Choral Festival (Toronto premiere of Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia). They have performed as guests of Opera Lyra, Toronto Operetta Theatre, the

Toronto, Montréal and Kitchener Waterloo symphonies, Mainly Mozart Orchestra and Stratford Festival. Highlighting many of these performances have been the premieres of new Canadian works by Glick, Holman, Bussiere, Applebaum, Carriere, Laing, Henderson and Weinzweig, the latter of which was presented in association with Rhombus Media. In addition to commissioning works from Canadian composers, Mr. Cooper conducted the Canadian premiere of The Company of Heaven by Britten for the International Choral Festival. 

He enjoys a distinguished career as a guest conductor and clinician working with many of Canada’s leading choral organizations and provincial choral federations. He has had the honour of conducting the National Youth Choir of Canada, made his Carnegie Hall debut for a Celebration of Canadian Choral Music, made a critically acclaimed Edmonton Symphony debut conducting Messiah and made his debut with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir conducting Bach’s Mass in B Minor. Mr. Cooper has been a frequent adjudicator for the international choral competition ‘Let the People Sing’. He has also recorded CD’s of both opera and choral music and provided choral backup for films and Stratford Festival productions.

Robert Cooper has served as President of both the Ontario Choral Federation and the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors and is on the Board of Directors of Chorus America. As executive producer at CBC Radio Two Mr. Cooper coordinated the broadcast of all four of Wagner’s Ring Cycle operas live from the stage of the new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts during the Gala opening week.  After 31 years of bringing fine choral music and operatic performances to all of Canada as Executive Producer of Opera and Choral Music, Mr. Cooper has left CBC Radio Two and currently pursues an active conducting career.

Robert Cooper received an Honorary Doctorate degree from Brock University for his significant contribution to the Canadian choral community, and has been appointed to the Order of Canada.

 

September 2016

Concert/Orchestral

Bach Mass in B Minor
Magnificat, Motets
Cantatas BWV 4, 140, 191
Matthäus Passion
Beethoven Mass in C
Berlioz Requiem
Bizet Te Deum
Bernstein

BevanChichester Psalms
Missa Brevis
Nou goth Sonne under Wode
BrahmsEin Deutsches Requiem
Alto Rhapsody
BrittenSt. Nicolas Cantata
Company of Heaven (Canadian Premiere)
BrubeckLight in the WildernessBuhrAnanadaDello JoioHymn to St. Cecilia
A Psalm of David
Duruflé
EstacioRequiem
The Houses Stand Not Far Apart
FanshaweAfrican SanctusFauréRequiemFordRequiem: For Those Who Have Died of Aids (Premiere)GounodSanctus

Handel

Hatzis

Messiah
Brockes Passion of Christ 1716
Utrecht Jubilate
Judas Maccabaeus
Solomon
Coronation Anthems
Israel in Egypt
Athalia
Sepulchre of Life
HaydnCreation
Lord Nelson Mass
St. Cecilia Mass
Missa Sancti Nicolai
Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo
Missa in Angustiis (Nelson Mass)
Te Deum
HolmanLaudes Creationis
A Song to David
Honegger
JenkinsKing David
The Armed Man
MascagniRegina CoeliMathiasAve RexMendelssohnElijahMercureCantate Pour Une JoieMozartRequiem in D Minor
Coronation Mass
Versperae Solennes de Confessore
Regina Coeli
Te Deum
Missa Brevis in C Major (Spatzen-Messe)
Exultate Jubilate
OrffCarmina Burana
Catulli Carmina
PoulencGloriaPucciniMessa di GloriaPurcellWelcome to All the Pleasures
Dido and Aeneas
Funeral Music for Queen Mary
RobertsonThe Gist of Time (Premiere)RossiniPetite Messe SolennelleSaint-SaënsChristmas OratorioSchubertMass in G MajorStravinskySymphony of PsalmsVaughan WilliamsHodie
Benedicite
Dona Nobis Pacem
Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Fantasia on the Old Psalm 104
First Nowell (Canadian Premiere)
Five Mystical Songs
Serenade To Music
VerdiRequiemWebberRequiemWinterMissa Gaia (Toronto Premiere)

 

Choral

Numerous Choral Works (a cappella, keyboard, chamber ensemble) reflecting all periods, styles and languages from Dufay, Tormis, Bach, Part, Scheidt, Schafer, Carissima, Calvert including many selections by Canadian composers

Opera

Bellini La Sonnambula
Bizet Les Pecheurs de Perles
Borodin Prince Igor (Act II)
Britten Noyes Fludde
Donizetti La Favorita
Gluck Iphigénie en Tauride
Lehar Land of Smiles
Massenet Cendrillon
Le Cid
Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro
Rossini Il Barbiere di Siviglia
La Cenerentola
La Gazza Ladra
Saint-Saëns Samson et Dalila
Sullivan, A. Mikado
H.M.S. Pinafore
Pirates of Penzance
Iolanthe
Sullivan, T. Florence, The Lady With The Lamp
Szymanowski King Roger
Thomas Hamlet
Weber Der Freischütz

Music Theatre

Brigadoon
Cabaret
Fantasticks
The King and I
My Fair Lady
Sound of Music
West Side Story

 

 

“…the combined choirs, conducted by Robert cooper, gave us a scrupulously tailored performance, (Duruflé Requiem) balanced and carefully paced…with admirably controlled dynamics and lovely pianissimo singing…”
Bath Chronicle – Peter Lloyd Williams

“…the Canadian choir Chorus Niagara and Portsmouth Choral Union, combined to provide a stunning concert of choral music…Niagara’s Robert Cooper conducted a finely controlled performance of Duruflé’s Requiem. Here the choirs coped well with the extremes of dynamics required in this work, from the hushed opening movement to an electrifying triple forte in the ‘hosanna’.”
Portsmouth Evening News – Ian Schofield

“Conductor Robert Cooper has a deft hand with the music, making his orchestra sound lyrical when needed and sprightly when necessary.”
Toronto Star – Richard Ouzounian

“You knew it was serious from the opening bravura of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino overture, an ominous and vivid expression of fatality, brought into blazing focus by conductor Robert Cooper. Cooper’s detailed gestures urged the music on by way of dramatically fluent tempos…alive with a beating pulse and therefore neither rigid nor erratic but flowing with passion and fervour.”
Chronicle Herald – Stephen Pedersen

“…a live wire on the podium, Cooper showed himself a sensitive and persuasive interpreter of this sublime work” (Iphigenie en Tauride – Gluck)
Globe and Mail – Alan Horgan