Emil de Cou, Virginia Chamber Orchestra Music Director
The dynamic, internationally renowned American conductor Emil de Cou joined the Virginia Chamber Orchestra as Music Director in 2009. Widely admired by Washington audiences, he served as Associate Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra (September 20032010) and as NSO @ Wolf Trap Festival Conductor beginning in 2005.
De Cou was recently named Music Director of the Pacific Northwest Ballet beginning in 20112012. His stellar career encompasses a long association with ballet companies including eight years with the American Ballet Theater, at the invitation of Mikhail Baryshnikov, and a wide range of national and international guest conducting performances with major symphony orchestras. He recently led a performance of the Colorado Symphony at the request of soloist Renée Fleming.
Maestro de Cou conducted the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, on NSO American Residency Tours, and also at the annual Labor Day Weekend Capitol Concert on the West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol. As NSO @ Wolf Trap Festival Conductor, his current responsibilities include leading several of the NSOs concerts at Wolf Trap and acting as a spokesperson for the overall summer season.
One of Americas foremost conductors, Maestro de Cou made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the New York Pops. He has served as guest conductor for the Boston Pops and symphony orchestras in Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, St. Louis, Detroit, Montreal, as well as the English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish National Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, and the Royal Danish Opera Orchestra.
His innovative concerts at the Wolf Trap Pavilion have included the first screenings of The Wizard of Oz
with the score performed with live orchestra, the first ever live Twitter program notes (Beethoven Pastoral Symphony) and live in-time pod cast for a concert called Fantastic Planet.
As part of his work as musical consultant for NASA he has conducted several successful collaborations with the nation's space agency, most recently on July 18, Salute to Apollo, the Kennedy Legacy at the Kennedy Center in honor of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.
On the New York stage, Maestro de Cou was guest conductor in the Beverly Sills benefit for Lincoln Center, where he led the Orchestra of St. Lukes and a distinguished roster of soloists, including Lang Lang and Gil Shaham. Public television appearances include PBS Great Performances June 2003 airing of San Francisco Ballets Othello
led by de Cou. Maestro de Cou conducted the San Francisco Ballet (19932001) serving as Acting Music Director for the last three of those seasons. He conducted for American Ballet Theater. He recently conducted the Pacific Northwest Ballets Coppelia
as well as the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center.
A great deal of what motivates in my work as a conductor is a passionate commitment to music education and outreach. Working with the Virginia Chamber Orchestra gives me the opportunity to create innovative programs, to reach out to new audiences, and to serve the rich cultural tapestry of Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, DC area, de Cou has commented.
VCO Music Director Emil de Cou (photos by Louis Sica)