Jane Coop

Jane (Austin) Coop. Pianist, teacher, b Saint John, NB, 18 Apr 1950; Artist Diploma (Toronto) 1971, B MUS (Toronto) 1972, M MUS (Peabody Conservatory) 1974. She grew up in Calgary (from 1952) and studied there with Alexandra Munn and Gladys Egbert.

Coop, Jane

Jane (Austin) Coop. Pianist, teacher, b Saint John, NB, 18 Apr 1950; Artist Diploma (Toronto) 1971, B MUS (Toronto) 1972, M MUS (Peabody Conservatory) 1974. She grew up in Calgary (from 1952) and studied there with Alexandra Munn and Gladys Egbert. She continued her studies 1968-72 with Anton Kuerti in Toronto. She won the CBC Talent Festival in 1970, the W.O. Forsyth Memorial Scholarship (for study in Europe) in 1971, and the Baldwin Prize in the Maryland International Piano Competition in 1972. She studied 1972-3 with various teachers, including Peter Feuchtwanger, in London and 1973-4 with Leon Fleisher in Baltimore. She moved back to Toronto but, with the assistance of two Canada Council grants, continued to study with Fleisher until 1976. In the meantime, she made her debut at the St Lawrence Centre in 1973. In 1975 she won the Washington International Competition, and also the only prize for piano performance awarded in the New York Concert Artists' Guild Competition. In 1977 she was a finalist in the Munich International Piano Competition (Bavarian State Radio). Between 1969 and 1980 she appeared 10 times with the TS; she also played with the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra in 1972 and with the Calgary Philharmonic in 1976. She was a member 1975-6 of the Harvard Summer School Chamber Players and in 1976 toured in New England with the NACO. In 1979 she gave her London debut in Wigmore Hall.

Coop was Kuerti's teaching assistant in Toronto 1976-80, then she began teaching at the University of British Columbia, where as of 2003 she remained as professor of piano and chamber music. Concurrently with this commitment, she maintained an active concert career, appearing as recitalist or soloist in, among other places, New York, London, Washington, Moscow, Paris, Warsaw, Brussels, Budapest, Kiev, St. Petersburg, Prague, and Utrecht. She also played on numerous occasions in the USA (eg, with the Seattle and Oregon symphony orchestras) and in Canada with all major orchestras including the NACO, and the Edmonton, Saskatoon, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg symphony orchestras, and with such chamber ensembles as the Orford, Purcell, and Colorado string quartets and the York Winds. Coop toured Asia in 1994, performing in Japan, China, and Hong Kong.

Throughout her career she also played frequently on radio - including CBC, BBC, KRO (Holland), Polish Radio (Warsaw), NPR, and CJRT - and on television. Her premieres include Kristi Allik'sFragments (London, 1979), Stephen Chatman'sBlack and White Fantasy (Winnipeg, 1981), John Beckwith'sEtudes (Vancouver, 1984), Jean Coulthard'sSonata No. 2 (Vancouver, 1989), and the world premiere recording of Malcolm Forsyth's Piano Concerto (SMCD 5124, 1993). Active as an accompanist too, Coop played in recitals of lieder and art songs with Ingemar Korjus, Rosemarie Landry, Janet Stubbs, and Catherine Robbin; she also performed chamber music with violinists Andrew Dawes, Martin Beaver, and others.

In 1989 she received a Killam Research Prize at the University of British Columbia. Earlier she created, with her husband, radio and festival producer George Laverock, the Skylark recording label. Coop recorded extensively; several of her recordings were nominated for Juno awards. She appeared at festivals including Festival Vancouver and the Kneisel Hall Festival in Maine, gave master classes, and served on juries including for the E-Gré and Dublin International piano competitions.

Coop's repertoire ranged widely over works from the 18th to the 20th centuries; her approach was as versatile as it was sensitive and persuasive. A pianist of superb technique, consummate musicianship, and enormous energy, her performances were compelling and always memorable.


Further Reading

  • Marchant, Janet. 'The passion of a concert pianist,' Today Magazine, 6 Sep 1980;

    Prunkl, Arlene. 'Not just plain Jane,' Music, vol 14, Sep 1991

    Anderson, Don. 'Full scale talent,' Overture, Nov/Dec 1993

    Bell, Nancy Merritt. 'Low-key virtuoso,' Vancouver Weekend Post, nd