Order of Canada recipient in Nanaimo

Jane Coop performs live at the Port Theatre on Sunday (Feb. 16)

Order of Canada recipient and pianist Jane Coop has performed just about everywhere in Canada. From Tofino to Whitehorse and St. John’s to Niagara Falls, there are few places in Canada she hasn’t played. However, one place stands out to her – Cold Lake, Man.

“I had one wonderful experience in the north of Manitoba in a little tiny mining town,” she said. “One person who was an art and music lover put on a house concert and people drove in from two hours away … to come to this concert. I really enjoyed playing for them. They were super receptive and listened so carefully. It was a wonderful time.”

Coop, who was once a member of the UBC faculty of music for 32 years, will be displaying her talents at the Port Theatre on Sunday (Feb. 16). She said that she is looking forward to playing her program in the Harbour City.

“I am happy to be playing this particular program because it’s the program that I am taking on tour for this time of year,” Coop said. “I am always happy to be playing a repertoire that I’ve lived with for quite a while and to share it with my audiences.

“I’ve got everything from baroque to romantic music. So there should be something in there for everybody’s taste,” she added.

Coop was born in Saint John but grew up in Calgary and became involved in music at a young age.

“My parents loved music and were musical but neither of them were musicians, but they took their children to concerts and exposed them to recordings,” Coop said. “We were just drawn into by natural circumstances rather than being pushed.”

She began learning piano under Alexandra Munn and Gladys Egber. Coop then studied advanced piano under Anton Kuerti in Toronto and Leon Fleisher in Baltimore, Md.

“You learn the finer points and more sophisticated ideas intellectually and you get better physically and better control over the instrument and better technique … you get everything it’s just on higher level,” Coop explained about her advanced studies.

A major turning point in Coop’s career came when she placed first in the CBC’s Young Performers radio competition at the age of 19.

“That was an early point in my career and it was a wonderful happening because I then got tapped into the CBC radio and has CBC has been wonderful to me, until it has gotten completely decimated by the present government,” Coop said. “CBC was a fantastic opportunity for young artists to get known throughout the country and that happened to me for sure.”

Since then Coop has gone on to perform at the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Alice Tully Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and the Beijing Concert Hall. Coop, who has performed in over 20 countries, recalled her experience performing in Poland.

“I played in Poland in the ’80s, before the wall came down. Poland was a country that was very, very poor. There was hardly any amenities for the people, but there was a bookstore on every corner, which I thought was amazing,” she said. “You couldn’t buy a hat but you could buy a book. The people were so full of life and humour and good will and generosity that it really took me back.”

The New Brunswick native explained that playing in bigger cities is more challenging than in small cities and towns.

“It is harder to play in big cities anywhere because people in big cities are used to going to concerts and they have millions of concerts to choose from,” she said. “So audiences to be much more blasé, whereas in smaller places where there is less access to art and music, people are more attentive and that makes it easier for the artist.”

Although Coop has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia, she has yet to perform in South America.

“I haven’t been to South America,” she said. “I would like to go to places like Rio or Buenos Aires or any of the places that have concert series.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Doug Routley has retained his seat as Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA. (Photo submitted)
Routley retains his post as Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA

NDP stronghold in the riding continues despite a strong challenge from the Greens’ Istace

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)
Boat blows away, stranding fishermen on Snake Island in the strait near Nanaimo

Marine search and rescue team picked up men on windy afternoon Wednesday

Most Read