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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Gonzalo Farias, currently the recipient of the prestigious BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship, is an engaging conductor, pianist, and educator. Mentored by Marin Alsop, Mr. Farias’ ambition is to establish music-making as a way of rethinking our place in society by cultivating respect, trust, and cooperation.

While Music Director of the Joliet Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Farias revitalized the city of Joliet by crafting tailor-made pre-concert lectures and sold-out events. A vis-à-vis Spanish and English narrated version of Bizet’s Carmen intended to bring together all members of the community was one of the highlights of recent seasons. Currently, he is the new Associate Conductor at the Occasional Symphony, one of most innovative and exciting chamber orchestras in Baltimore.

Recently, Mr. Farias attended the 2017 Gstaad Menuhin Festival Conducting Academy. Under the guidance of Jaap van Zweden and Johannes Schlaefli, he was selected to conduct the prestigious Gstaad Festival Orchestra in several occasions. Under the mentorship of Paavo and Neeme Järvi, Mr. Farias also studied at the Järvi Academy and was selected to close its final concert at the Pärnu Music Festival. He has also attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, where he was awarded the Osher Scholar Prize in conducting. As part of the Peninsula Music Festival, Mr. Farias worked as an Assistant Conductor under the “Emerging Conductor” program established by esteemed Music Director Victor Yampolsky.

An advocate for contemporary music, Mr. Farias served as an Assistant Conductor of Donald Schleicher in the recording project of “Astral Canticle” by Augusta Read Thomas, released by Nimbus Records. Mr. Farias also served as a Conducting Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music as the recipient of the Bruno Walter Conducting Scholarship.

Mr. Farias has worked with conductors Harold Farberman, Diane Wittry, Markus Stenz, Christoph König, Hannu Lintu, Nicholas McGegan, Leonard Slatkin. Garrett Keast, Otto-Werner Mueller, and Larry Rachleff, as well as with members of the Boston Chamber Orchestra, Norwalk Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Worcester Youth Orchestra, Bard Conductor’s Institute Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, National Symphony of Chile, Pleven Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Farias was born in Santiago de Chile. He began his piano studies at age five and earned his Bachelor’s degree at the P.C. University of Chile. Mr. Farias continued his graduate studies at the New England Conservatory, earning his Master´s, Graduate Diploma, and Doctoral degrees 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 as his Assistant Conductor. He is currently a student in the inaugural class of Marin Alsop at the Peabody Conservatory.

Besides having a fond love for piano, chamber, and contemporary music, Mr. Farias is an avid reader of second-order cybernetics from authors Heinz von Foerster, Humberto Maturana, and Francisco Varela. His Doctoral thesis “Logical Predictions and Cybernetics” explores the case of Cornelius Cardew’s “The Great Learning” to redefine our music activity as a social and “cybernetic” organization. In addition to that, he has a warm affection for Zen Buddhism, which he has practiced for many years.