Pianist lets imaginations soar

Music: Classical musician performs in High River on Jan. 31

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 08:18 am

Vancouver concert pianist Jane Coop will perform at the High River United Church for the High River Gift of Music Society’s concert series on Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Vancouver concert pianist Jane Coop will perform at the High River United Church for the High River Gift of Music Society’s concert series on Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.
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A Vancouver musician will have imaginations soaring as she sits before the grand piano in the High River United Church to perform a variety of classical pieces this weekend.

Concert pianist Jane Coop invites listeners to let their thoughts take over as she fills the room with music during her performance for the High River Gift of Music Society’s concert series on Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.

“The idea of music is to take you to a place you can’t reach any other way,” she said. “That’s true of all music to some extent, it’s just that classical music is generally more complicated than other music and it inspires you to listen on many different levels.”

Coop’s musical career brought her to more than 20 countries alongside chamber music artists from around the world and for 33 years she taught piano performance at the University of British Columbia School of Music in Vancouver.

Although she loved teaching, Coop decided to focus all her efforts into her career as a concert pianist.

“I am at the stage in my life where I would like time to put into my art 100 per cent and also have time to read and maybe go for a walk,” she said.

Coop has had a love for classical music for as long as she can remember. She began playing the piano at age six and remembers her parents turning on classical music in their home every Sunday as the family relaxed.

“It was like a treat,” she said. “We would be reading or doing something else. It was a natural language in our household but not a forced one.”

While some students dreaded their piano lessons, Coop enjoyed hers.

“The experience for me was that it was fun,” she said. “I had a great teacher when I was a little kid. She was very young herself, only about 23, when I started playing. She had a wonderful spark and a way about her that captivated me. I never felt it was a drag.”

Coop said it also helped that her parents didn’t push her into performing professionally.

“They were as surprised as anybody that I made music my life,” she said, adding her parents aren’t musicians.

Coop said it was her music instructors who stemmed her interest in teaching music.

“I had terrific teachers,” she said. “I felt lucky that way.”

When a job came available at the University of British Columbia for a music teacher she applied.

“What appealed to me the most was the fact I liked the idea of being in a university environment, which included other disciplines,” she said. “I wanted to feel part of a bigger picture rather than just in my own little room practicing and teaching. I was at a time in my life where I could do that.”

Throughout her music career, Coop had 16 recordings broadcast on classical radio programs and she was nominated for three Juno awards.

She studied in Toronto, London and Baltimore and lived in Calgary for 16 years before moving to Vancouver.

It was always classical music that touched Coop the most.

“It’s appealing on many levels,” she said. “It inspires the imagination. It’s intellectually incredibly interesting and satisfying.”

As a pianist, each performance puts Coop in front of a different piano and she lets the notes float into the air, whether she’s playing Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart.

“I think they’ll enjoy the variety,” she said, of the High River concert.

“I’m playing very different pieces and each different group of pieces should sort of make them react in a different way. I’m hoping the evening will be full of variety.”

Beethoven’s compositions have the biggest impact on Coop.

“There is something in Beethoven’s music,” she said. “It speaks to humanity in general, as opposed to certain people.”

Coop is offering a preconcert chat at 6:45 p.m. where she will talk about the music she’ll be playing, what it means to her, why she chose it, what the audience should listen for and what she hopes it will mean for them.

“I hope that they are lifted up somehow, maybe taken to a different place where their thoughts are not on the daily grind but on somewhere nice,” she said.

Tickets to see Jane Coop perform at the High River United Church cost $25 in advance for adults and $30 at the door, $20 in advance for seniors and $25 at the door and $5 for students.

Tickets can be purchased at www.highrivergiftofmusic.com and the High River United Church.


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