KENNETH COOPER, MUSIC DIRECTOR
Harpsichordist, pianist, musicologist and conductor Kenneth Cooper is one of the world’s leading specialists in the music of the 18th century and one of America’s most exciting and versatile performers. Renowned for his improvisations and his expertise in ornamentation, long-lost 18th century arts, he has revived countless works, lending them extraordinary authenticity as well as great vitality. The possessor of a PhD in Musicology from Columbia University, Kenneth Cooper is on the faculty there as well as at the Manhattan School of Music, where he is Chair of the Harpsichord Department and Director of the Baroque Aria Ensemble.
As Music Director of the Berkshire Bach Ensemble since its inception, Kenneth Cooper has made a tradition of the New Year’s performances of the Bach Brandenburg Concerti and has instituted a series of Concerto concerts which have featured such superlative artists as Joseph Silverstein, Eugene Drucker, and Ani and Ida Kavafian. He is heard regularly at the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo and with the Sherman Chamber Ensemble and the Little Orchestra Society’s Vivaldi Festivals at Alice Tully Hall. Dr. Cooper has toured widely, having appeared recently at the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival, at Chamber Music Northwest and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Over the past decades, Kenneth Cooper has made almost a hundred recordings, among them Bach’s Gamba-Harpsichord Sonatas (CBS, with Yo Yo Ma), the complete Bach Sonatas for Flute and Fortepiano (Bridge Records, with Susan Rotholz) and the Bach Brandenburg Concerti and Goldberg Variations (Berkshire Bach Society); his spectacular versions of ragtime and other American delights may be heard on Silks and Rags (EMI) and Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot (Musical Heritage Society). He is heard also on Mother Goose and More (UNIFEM/Classic Raps) and on the documentary Van Gogh Revisited. His most recent releases include the Bach Six Sonatas for Violin and Fortepiano with Ani Kavafian (Helicon-Kleos), the Artist Series from Music@Menlo (with Colin Carr and Carol Wincenc), and the CMS December 2006 Baroque Program on itunes DG Concerts. Recently, International Music Company has issued Kenneth Cooper’s award-winning editions of Bach’s Two and Three Part Inventions, his piano transcription of the Adagio and Scherzo from Schubert’s String Quintet in C and his reconstruction of Beethoven’s 1793 cadenza to his Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat.