With the world celebrating the 250th Birth Anniversary of Beethoven in 2020, Vera Kooper imagined a program inspired from the upcoming occasion. “Under Beethoven’s Spell” is not only a deeply felt tribute to Beethoven but also to composers whom he inspired and was inspired by.
VERA KOOPER| Piano
Baabdath | Maronite Parish Hall – 8:00 pm
W. A. MOZART (1756 – 1791)
Piano Sonata No.: 17 in B-flat major, KV 570 Allegro Adagio Allegretto
L. VAN BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827)
Piano Sonata Nr. 7 in D Major, Op. 10 No.: 3 Presto
Largo e mesto Minuet. Allegro Rondo. Allegro
L. VAN BEETHOVEN
32 Variations in C Minor WoO 80
J. CORIGLIANO (b. 1985) Fantasia on an Ostinato
L. VAN BEETHOVEN
Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27 No.: 2, “Moonlight Sonata” Adagio Sostenuto Allegretto Presto Agitato
Vera Kooper (Piano)
Dutch pianist Vera Kooper (1988) has been described as a “sensitive and expressive performer, with impressive instrumental control and all-out dedication, capable of transforming each performance into a poetic, moving artistic experience”.
Vera started playing the piano at the age of six and joined the young talent class of the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague (the Netherlands) at the age of thirteen, where she studied in the class of Russian piano pedagogue Kamilla Bystrova. She continued her education with David Kuyken and graduated with honours in 2011. She then moved to Austria to study with George Kern at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg, where she received her Soloist Diploma in 2015. Additionally she worked with Konstantin Bogino in the ‘Corso di Alto Perfezionamento’ at the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Bergamo (Italy) and received coaching and musical advice from the legendary American pianist Stephen Kovacevich in London, who describes her as “an unusually gifted and interesting artist.”
At the age of sixteen Vera Kooper won the second prize at the International Steinway Competition in Amsterdam. In 2007 and 2008 she was awarded top prizes at the Prinses Christina Concours in the Netherlands, both as a soloist and with her duo partner violinist Emmy Storms. These successes resulted in many concert engagements in the Netherlands and abroad, performing at the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), de Doelen (Rotterdam), the Oosterpoort (Groningen), the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg (Utrecht), the Muziekgebouw Eindhoven and festivals such as the Grachtenfestival Amsterdam, Peter de Grote Festival, Musica Mundi Chamber Music Festival, Festival Musica Russa and the Aurora Chamber Music Festival and touring the Netherlands and Germany with orchestras such as Sinfonia Rotterdam and the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands.
In 2013 Vera co-founded the Delta Piano Trio, with violinist Gerard Spronk and cellist Irene Enzlin. Originally intended as a one-time project, their venture rapidly evolved and became an intensive and successful collaboration. The trio studied in Salzburg, Paris and Basel with Wolfgang Redik (Vienna Piano Trio), Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet), Trio Wanderer and Anton Kernjak and won numerous awards and prizes, including 1st prizes at the Stasys Vainiunas International Chamber Music Competition in Lithuania (2014), the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition in Italy (2014), the Orlando International Chamber Music Competition in The Netherlands (2015) and the Orpheus Chamber Music Competition in Switzerland (2017). With about 50 concerts each season they have performed extensively in Europe, Russia, China, Korea, Indonesia and the United States in venues such as the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the National Center of Performing Arts (Beijing), the Gang Dong Art Center (Seoul) and St. Johns Smith Square (London). They appeared in festivals such as the New York Chamber Music Festival, the Swiss Chamber Music Festival, Musikdorf Ernen, and the Salzburger Kammermusik Festival.
In 2017 they released their debut CD with works by Sergei Taneyev and Alexander Borodin for Naxos Records .Their second CD, The Mirror with Three Faces, with works by Lera Auerbach and Dmitri Shostakovich, produced by Odradek Records, was released in 2018 to great international acclaim.
Highlights of the past season include a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Basel Chamber Orchestra, a residency at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and a collaboration with violist Nobuko Imai. In 2020, Vera will release her first solo CD dedicated to Beethoven and will embark on an extensive tour with presenter Floris Kortie through the Netherlands, with 50 performances of “Het jaar 250 na Beethoven” (the year 250 after Beethoven), a theater production about the life and piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven.
As a child I adored Mozart. I loved the beauty, the logic, and the intuitive and pure nature of his music. My love for Beethoven came later, shortly before reaching adolescence. Perhaps it was not such a surprising transformation at that age: to move from comforting perfection to raw, unsettling humanity. When I was 11 years old, I learned Beethoven’s first piano concerto and got the chance to play it with orchestra a few months later. In the confusing and turbulent teenage years I held on to his music, literally with both hands. Beethoven’s music was a sort of manual for life, of everything that awaited me in the years to come. I loved how he rebelled both in music and in life. Not caring about rules and conventions, he had his own ideals and frankly did not care what anyone else thought.
His whole life he was tormented by physical pain and the cruel fate of his increasing deafness. He was often desperately lonely and constantly struggling to survive as a freelance artist. He could be suspicious, rude and enraged with the people around him, yet he always believed in the good of humanity. His music is endlessly rich in its range of human expression and a timeless testament to humanity in all its facets.