Biography of Musica Bella Orchestra member Christopher Cooley
|Christopher Cooley, piano/harpsichord, began playing piano at the age of seven and made his orchestral debut at age fifteen with the Florida Youth Orchestra. He holds degrees from Florida State University, the University of Texas-Austin, and a doctorate in Accompanying from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Heasook Rhee. As a soloist, he has played with the University of Texas Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Florida, and the Musica Bella Orchestra. He was also a finalist in the Nena Wideman Piano Competition (Shreveport, Louisiana) and the Josef Hofmann National Piano Competition (Aiken, Spouth Carolina).
Since moving to New York in 1998, Dr. Cooley has focused primarily on collaborative playing and has served as Dr. Rhee’s teaching assistant at the Manhattan School. He has been a staff pianist at the International Viola Congress (Texas), the Weathersfield and Elan festivals (Vermont), Opera Lirica (Orvieto, Italy), Centro Studi Italiani (Urbania, Italy), Opera Ischia (Forio, Italy), the Ibla Grand Prize Competition (Sicily), the Austrian-American Mozart Academy (Austria), and the Piatigorsky Seminar for Cellists (Los Angeles). As a winning accompanist in the Ibla Grand Prize Competition, he performed numerous concerts in Japan, England, and the U.S., including Tokyo City Opera Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. The Career Bridges Foundation for singers has taken him to Gummersbach, Germany for a two-week Meisterkurs, as well as to Italy for a gala concert at the Ravello Festival.
Mr. Cooley has shared the stage with Manhattan School faculty member Palma Toscani, musical theater soprano Marni Nixon, New York City Opera soprano Lauren Flanegan, violinist Sung-Ju Lee, cellist Myung-Wha Chung, and flutist Leone Buyse. Numerous collaborations have taken him to St. Petersburg, Russia (Glinka Philharmonia Hall); Pusan, Korea (Pusan Culture Center); and South Africa, as well as Weill Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The New York Concert Review described him as an “excellent, solicitously supportive pianist” who “came through with flying colors.”
Mr. Cooley was the harpsichordist in Musica Bella’s October 2006 Baroque concerts; he was the pianist in our November 2006 solo violin recital with violinist Annette Homann; he was the principal pianist in our February 2007 performance of the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony; and he will perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Musica Bella Orchestra on February 23 and 24, 2008.
Musica Bella concerts: October 1, 2006; October 4, 2006; February 18, 2007