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Gary Cooper (Harpsichord, Musical Director)

Born: England

The English harpsichordist, Gary Cooper, studied organ and harpsichord at Chetham's School of Music, the John Loosemore Centre, and was an organ scholar at New College, Oxford.

Between 1992 and 2000, Gary Cooper was a member of the highly-acclaimed baroque Ensemble Sonnerie, with whom he performed regularly throughout Europe and the USA, and recorded frequently on both disc and radio. Gary predominantly makes appearances as soloist, director, accompanist, and chamber musician. He also performs regularly with ensembles such as The King's Consort, The Musicians of the Globe and Concordia.

During 2000, Gary Cooper made his solo Wigmore Hall debut performing J.S. Bach's complete Well Tempered Clavier, and went on to perform the work in Japan. Other recent engagements have included making his solo Wigmore Hall debut performing Bach's complete Well-Tempered Clavier, and also the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) at the Spitalfields Festival, the Snape Maltings, the Holywell Music Rooms in Oxford, and throughout the UK; recitals at the Halle International Händel Festival, the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Fenton House and Finchcocks; performances of Bach Harpsichord Concertos at Bachwoche Ansbach, the WDR Herne Festival, the Vantaa Baroque Festival, the Nordic Baroque Festival, the Spitalfields Festival, and in Amsterdam, Madrid and Santiago; conducting performances of Rameau's tragédie-lyrique Hippolyte e Aricie with the Yorke Trust, and at the RNCM; directing the Portland Baroque Orchestra in the USA, the Britten Pears Baroque Orchestra, The Bach Players at the Berlin Bachtage, Florilegium Baroque Orchestra, and performances of both Haydn's Creation and George Frideric Handel's Messiah; and accompanying in recitals, and on radio, the counter-tenor James Bowman, the soprano Carolyn Sampson, and the baritone Thomas Guthrie.

During the 2001 season, Gary Cooper gave recitals in Japan and Germany; directing ensembles in both Canada and Colombia; performing with baroque violinist, Andrew Manze; recorded Book II of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier; and conducted G.F. Handel's Acis & Galatea and Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring for Kent Opera, as well as performance's of G.F. Handel's Julius Caesar and Tamerlano. During the 2002 season he performed the Well-Tempered Clavier at the Spitalfields Festival and gave recitals with Andrew Manze.

Recent CD releases include a disc of Mozart's Piano Quartets, with Ensemble Sonnerie, and both Book I and Book II of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (all on ASV), which have already met with critical acclaim. Book I was voted No. 1 choice Critics CDs of the year 2000 in the Sunday Times.

Gary Cooper is musical director of The New Chamber Opera and The Band of the Instruments (which he founded in 1995), whose past productions have included B. Britten's Turn of the Screw, G.F. Handel's Xerxes (1998), Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte. Both ensembles are also involved in a project to record French and Italian dramatic music from the 17th and 18th centuries for ASV, the most recent release of which - Rameau's complete cantatas - met with critical acclaim. Forthcoming recordings with ASV include a project to record Antonio Vivaldi's complete Cantatas, the complete virginal music of William Byrd and Charpentier's complete stage works composed for the Comédie-Française (including Circe and Andromede & Polieucte). the Band of Instruments is currently early music ensemble-in-residence at Oxford University. In 2001, he was appointed Director of Music for New Kent Opera. He was recently named Best Newcomer in Classical Music 2001 in The Times.

Source: Music Profiles UK Website (2001); Sanctuary Classics Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2006)

Gary Cooper: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Cooper WTC II

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




John Eliot Gardiner


Member of English Baroque Soloists:
C-5 (1998);
BWV 16, BWV 98 , BWV 139
C-10 (1998);
BWV 133

Links to other Sites

Gary Cooper - harpsichordist and musical director (Music Profiles)
Gary Cooper - Harpsichordist / Musical Director - Biography (Music Teachers)
His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts - Biographies

Sanctuary Classics - Artist Biographies: Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper - Director of Music (New Kent Opera)
Gary Cooper, Biographie, Discographie (Goldberg)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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