West Genesee grad returns for special concert

The West Genesee Central School District is world-renowned for its fine arts department. Every year the school and individual students receive awards and win competitions. One example of the outstanding musical foundation that can be fostered at West Genesee is 1992 graduate Kevin Cooper.

Cooper will be returning to Central New York to perform concerts with his voice and guitar duo at Syracuse University, the Eastman School of Music and Nazareth College from April 21 to 23.

After graduating from West Genesee and Ithaca College Cooper continued his musical studies in Syracuse under the direction of local guitar guru Rick Balestra. In 1996 he received a degree in music education and performance from Ithaca College where he studied with Edward Flower, Frederic Hand and Pablo Cohen. Cooper now lives in Los Angeles and is an active classical and baroque guitarist.

In May 2006 he earned a doctor of musical arts in classical guitar performance degree from the University of Southern California and was given the school of music's highest honor, the 2006 Outstanding Graduate Award. At USC Cooper studied classical guitar with William Kanengiser of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and early music with James Tyler of the London Early Music Group.

Cooper has performed at several prestigious events including the Whittier New Music Festival, the Los Angeles Bach Festival, and the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival. In addition, he has earned enthusiastic acclaim at competitions such as the 1996 Yamaha Young Artists Award Competition and the 2001 Portland Guitar Competition.

An avid supporter of music education, Cooper authored a comprehensive classical guitar curriculum for zapguitar.com and arranged a collection of folk and children's songs for guitar entitled "Snakes, Snails, and C Major Scales" published by the Lorenz Corporation. Currently, Kevin teaches at Whittier College, Pierce College, and Los Angeles City College.

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