Pianist Jane Coop leaving UBC faculty after 32 years
After 32 years as a full-time faculty member of the UBC School of Music, celebrated pianist Jane Coop is leaving the university to devote herself to performing full-time.
“All the way along, I’ve been keeping up two lives: a full-time academic teaching position and a full-time performing career,” Coop explained in a phone conversation from her Vancouver home. “It’s been full to say the least. And I just decided that the time has come for me to resume my life as a full-time concert pianist. I wanted to do it while I’m still energetic and able to do that.”
Coop noted that there is more to performing than simply being on stage: “The preparation, the kind of studying of music that goes into being able to play concerts takes a lot of time. Not only time, just some space, you know, and some time to reflect and not always be chasing the time of the day. You need space, and I feel that much more now than ever before.”
Coop said she plans to spend more time in New York, where she has many musical collaborators, and do some new recordings. “The piano repertoire is so broad that there are many different, many different pieces in many different areas that I’d like to expand and explore,” she said.
As for her students, she said she took care to see them through their studies before departing UBC. “I’ve tried to make it so that I’m not just abandoning them unceremoniously,” she said. “I’ve waited until a lot of them have graduated now this year, and I’m just going to guide the last few remaining ones next year without being on the full faculty at UBC.”
Coop will mark the end of her teaching career with a concert May 26, 4 p.m., at UBC’s Barnett Hall. Billed as Jane Coop and Friends, the program will feature works by Frédéric Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Maurice Ravel, and Gabriel Fauré . Coop will be joined in performance by colleagues including pianists Robert Silverman and Terence Dawson; violinist Lucy Chapman, violist Doris Lederer; and cellist Antonio Lysy.
But the future won’t be all piano, all the time: “There’s so many things in my life I’ve had to put aside because of lack of time—like reading, like actually getting fit, like experiencing various things in life which you just can’t do.” Coop admitted, “I want to go to the film festival, I want to do some hiking, I want to study French more—French is a big love of mine.” She added, laughing: “Maybe I’ll even reintroduce myself to my family.”