Nicholas Wright, concertmaster/ leader
Ron and Ardelle Cliff Chair
Concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Nicholas Wright is a native of England. His engagements as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician have taken him to most of the major concert halls in Europe, Asia and North America. He has performed concertos with orchestras worldwide including the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Royal Oman Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. His repertoire spans works from Handel to premieres by composers such as Kelly-Marie Murphy and Jocelyn Morlock, whose works he recently recorded for the Naxos label. He made his solo debut with the York Guildhall Orchestra playing the Dvořák Romance, which was recorded for BBC Radio 3. His concerts and recordings have also been featured on CBC Radio (Canada) and Radio 4 (Hong Kong). As an orchestral musician, Nicholas has worked with the world’s most renowned conductors including Bernard Haitink, Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev and Mstislav Rostropovich. He has performed extensively with the major chamber and symphony orchestras in London including the English Chamber and London Philharmonic orchestras, and has appeared as guest concertmaster with orchestras such as the Bournemouth Symphony, BBC Concert and Ulster Orchestras. In 2003, he was appointed as the youngest member of the London Symphony Orchestra where he held the first violin sub-principal position, and in addition collaborated with film composers John Williams and Alexandre Desplat.
Asa chamber musician Nicholas regularly takes part in series such as the Mainly Mozart Festival, Ribble Valley Festival, LSO and VSO chamber players and Vancouver’s Music on Main. He has performed in venues such as LSO St Luke’s and has collaborated with many renowned artists including Martin Roscoe and Simon Wright. Prior to his appointment as concertmaster of the VSO, he was first violinist of the critically acclaimed Vancouver based Koerner Quartet.
Nicholas received his training as a scholar at the Royal College of Music in London, studying with Itzhak Rashkovsky and Rodney Friend. In addition to winning prizes at the Royal College, Nicholas has been generously supported by grants from the Martin Musical Fund, the Craxton Memorial Fund and the Royal Overseas League. This has enabled him to study with many eminent musicians including Ruggiero Ricci and Gil Shaham. Nicholas enjoys teaching and has given many masterclasses internationally. He is on the faculty of the VSO School of Music. Nicholas plays on a violin by Stefan-Peter Greiner.
“wonderfully judged with seemingly effortless projection of tone…..It was a triumph.”
The York Press
Otto Tausk, conductor
Dutch conductor Otto Tausk is the Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, now in his third season. He is also the newly announced Chief Conductor of recently formed Phion Orkest van Gelderland & Overijssel. Until spring 2018, Tausk was Music Director of the Opera Theatre and Tonhalle Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen. He appears as a guest with such orchestras as Concertgebouworkest, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Philharmonie Südwestfalen, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Mariinsky Orchestra, the orchestras of Perth, Tasmania, Auckland, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with whom he made his BBC Proms debut in August 2018. He is a hugely respected musical personality in his native Holland, working with all its major orchestras and composers.
In the 2020/21 season, Tausk continues guesting relationships with orchestras such as Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Het Gelders Orkest, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. In Vancouver, Tausk will lead an innovative reimagined season in response to COVID-19, showcasing the orchestra with a curated series of digital performances.
In the opera pit, he will conduct Michel van der Aa’s new opera ‘Upload’, with the world premiere at Dutch National Opera, plus further appearances with the other co-commissioning parties including Oper Köln. In St. Gallen, Tausk conducted the world premiere of ‘Annas Maske’, by Swiss composer David Philip Hefti, the Swiss premiere of George Benjamin’s ‘Written on Skin’, Korngold’s ‘Die Tote Stadt’ and other titles including ‘Don Giovanni’, ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’, ‘Eugene Onegin’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘Lohengrin’ and ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’.
Tausk has recorded with the Concertgebouworkest (Luc Brewaeys, and an animated version of Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’), Tonhalle Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen (Korngold and Diepenbrock), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Mendelssohn) and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (Gavin Bryars) amongst others. For the cpo label in 2011 Hans Pfitzner’s enchanting Orchesterlieder garnered international praise, not least the Classica France’s ‘Choc du mois’. His Prokofiev disc with Rosanne Philippens also received BBC Music Magazine Concerto Disc of the Month (2018).
Born in Utrecht, Otto Tausk initially studied violin and then conducting with Jonas Aleksa. Between 2004 and 2006, Tausk was assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, a period of study that had a profound impact on him. In 2011 Tausk was presented with the ‘De Olifant’ prize by the City of Haarlem. He received this prestigious award for his contribution to the Arts in the Netherlands, in particular his extensive work with Holland Symfonia serving as Music Director 2007 to 2012. In reflecting on their work together in The Netherlands, Valery Gergiev paid particular tribute to Tausk on this occasion.
Jane Coop, piano soloist & leader
Pianist Jane Coop, one of Canada’s most prominent and distinguished artists, was born in Saint John, New Brunswick and grew up in Calgary, Alberta. For advanced studies her principal teachers were Anton Kuerti in Toronto and Leon Fleisher in Baltimore.
At the age of nineteen she won First Prize in the CBC’s national radio competition (the Young Performers Competition), and this, along with First Prize at the Washington International Competition, launched her career. In the early years she made recital debuts at Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall (now called Weill Hall), and gave concerto performances with the Toronto Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic the Victoria Symphony and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra. In 1976 she was invited to tour the New England States as soloist with Mario Bernardi and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada in Mozart’s Concerto in D minor, K.466.
Subsequently she has played in over twenty countries, in such eminent halls as the Bolshoi Hall in St. Petersburg, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Beijing Concert Hall and the Salle Gaveau (Paris). In her own country she has given concerts from north to south: Whitehorse (Yukon) and Niagara Falls (ON), and from west to east: Tofino (BC) and St. John’s (Nfld) and many, many cities, towns and communities in between. She is in fact one of the few who has remained resident in Canada throughout her career.
Coop’s love of chamber music has led her to collaborate with artists from many parts of the world. Her longtime association with violinist Andrew Dawes, and her more recent partnership with cellist Antonio Lysy have given her the opportunity to delve into the sonata literature of Beethoven, a body of music to which she feels particularly drawn. Summer festivals in North America and Europe have provided venues for performances with the Manhattan, Miami, Audubon, Orford, Lafayette, Colorado, Seattle, Angeles and Pacifica String Quartets, as well as the Los Angeles Chamber Winds, York Winds, and such luminaries as Barry Tuckwell, Jamie Somerville, Martin Beaver, Jeanne Baxtrasser and Michelle Zukovsky. Coop is a cherished faculty artist at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, the oldest chamber festival in North America. There she collaborates in performances of much of the chamber music literature for piano and strings, and coaches brilliant young musicians from across the continent.
Her commitment to teaching is centred around her long time position at the University of British Columbia’s School of Music in Vancouver, where she was a senior professor and Head of the Piano Division. In 2003 she was designated Distinguished University Scholar by the university’s president, and in 2007 she received a Killam Teaching Award. In 1992 she was the founding Artistic Director of the Young Artists’ Experience – a summer chamber music program for students from the age of 14 to 18 which took place in Whistler, BC. Its mandate was to give the young people a wide exposure to art and life, thus offering in the daily schedule yoga, composition, poetry, philosophy and visual art as well as music.
Coop’s reputation has inspired international competition organizers to invite her to judge their events over the past fifteen years. She has served on the juries of the Kapell (Maryland), Dublin, Washington DC, Hilton Head, Honens, Gina Bachauer and the New York Piano Competitions. She has also been a jury member for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, the Glenn Gould Prize, the Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artists Grants and various Canada Council grant awards. Her sixteen recordings, three of which have been nominated for Juno awards, have garnered glowing reviews and have been heard on classical radio programs in many countries.
In December 2012, Jane Coop was appointed to the Order of Canada, our country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement. She was also appointed to the Order of British Columbia in May, 2019.
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1919, the Grammy and Juno-award winning Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is the third largest orchestra in Canada, the largest arts organization in Western Canada, and one of the few orchestras in the world to have its own music school.
Led by Music Director Otto Tausk since 2018, the VSO performs more than 150 concerts each year, throughout Vancouver and the province of British Columbia, reaching over 270,000 people annually. On tour the VSO has performed in the United States, China, Korea and across Canada.
The orchestra presents passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular and culturally diverse music, creating meaningful engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Recent guest artists include Daniil Trifonov, Dawn Upshaw, James Ehnes, Adrianne Pieczonka, Gidon Kremer, Renée Fleming, Yefim Bronfman, Itzhak Perlman, Bernadette Peters, Tan Dun, and more.
For the 2020-21 season the VSO has created the innovative streaming service TheConcertHall.ca, a virtual home for a virtual season, where more than forty performances will be released throughout the year.