Thursday, March 28, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM

Friday, March 29, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM

Hailed “America’s Pianist,” Kevin Cole joins the VSO to pay homage to great American jazz giant George Gershwin! Chicago Tribune raves “When Cole sits down at the piano, you would swear Gershwin himself was at work… Cole stands as the best Gershwin pianist in America today.”  Don’t miss this grand finale to an incredible POPS season featuring “Rhapsody in Blue” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”.

Gonzalo Farias , conductor
Kevin Cole, piano 

 

 

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An engaging orchestral conductor, award-winning pianist and passionate educator, Gonzalo Farias, has been recently appointed Assistant Conductor of the Virginia Symphony. Under the guidance of JoAnn Falleta, Mr. Farias’ ambition is to establish music-making as a way of rethinking our place in society by cultivating respect, trust, and cooperation among all people in the community.

He is the Associate Conductor of the Occasional Symphony in Baltimore and was the recipient of the prestigious Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Conducting Fellowship in 2016 and 2017. Mentored by Marin Alsop, he assisted conductors Robert Spano, Bernard Labadie, Markus Stenz, Christoph König, Johannes Debus, Lahav Shani, among others; he has worked with instrumentalists like Hélène Grimaud, Vadim Gluzman, Johannes Moser, André Watts, and composers Christopher Theofinidis, Anna Clyne, Jonathan Leshnoff, Christopher Rouse, among many others.

As Music Director of the Joliet Symphony Orchestra Farias transformed the city of Joliet embracing the Hispanic residents of the greater Chicago area with pre-concert lectures, free tickets, Latin-based repertoire, and a unique side-by-side Spanish/English narration of Bizet’s Carmen.

During the summer, Mr. Farias has worked closely with Jaap Van Zweden and Johannes Schlaefli in the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland as well as with Neeme and Paavo Järvi at the Pärnu Music Festival. In the United States, he was the recipient of the prestigious Bruno Walter Conducting Scholarship twice at the Cabrillo Music Festival and named “Emergent Conductor” by Victor Yampolsky at the Peninsula Music Festival. He attended also the Pierre Monteux Festival where he received the Bernard Osher Scholar Prize.

Out of 566 applicants and 78 countries, he was recently chosen one of 24 finalists in the prestigious 2018 Malko Conducting Competition with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Hailed by the Gramophone magazine critics, Mr. Farias offered one the “most fluent, honest, open hearted and pointed performances.”. He has conducting experience with orchestras including Charlotte Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic, National Symphony of Chile, among others.

Mr. Farias was born in Santiago de Chile, where he began his piano studies at age five. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the P.C. University of Chile, and then continued his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory as a full-scholarship student of Wha-Kyung Byun and Russell Sherman. He has won first prize at the Claudio Arrau International Piano Competition and prizes at the Maria Canals and Luis Sigall Piano Competitions. As a conductor, Mr. Farias attended the University of Illinois working with Donald Schleicher and the Peabody Conservatory with Marin Alsop.

Besides having a fond love for piano, chamber, and contemporary music, Mr. Farias is passionate reader of second-order cybernetics as a way to help understand how complex social systems organize, coordinate and interconnect with one another. This includes the interdependent and recursive nature of musical experiences, in which performers and audiences alike interact and respond to each other. In addition to that, he has a warm affection for Zen Buddhism, which he has practiced for many years.