The Symphony for Sugihara
Japanese-American cello virtuoso, Kristina Reiko Cooper, has won worldwide acclaim for her musical diversity, artistry, and charismatic stage presence. Hailed by The New York Times as “sensational in concert” and as a “striking virtuoso” by the Los Angeles Times, Kristina has performed as soloist and chamber musician on many of the world’s most distinguished stages including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Suntory Hall of Tokyo and Radio France in Paris. Her concerto appearances include the Prague Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Israel Chamber Orchestra, and tours with the Tokyo Yomiuri Orchestra and Shanghai Symphony. She has been a frequent guest at festivals, including the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival, Musicians from Marlboro, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and the Stresa International Music Festival.
Ms. Cooper is often heard performing music of our time and was recently named Co-Director of the New York based new music group, Continuum. She has had many works written and commissioned for her by composers including Philip Glass, Mario Davidovsky, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tania Leon, Josef Bardanashvili and Benjamin Yusupov. She has toured worldwide to great acclaim under the baton of Tan Dun, in his multimedia cello concerto, The Map, and his Water Passion.
In November of 2022, Ms. Cooper performed as soloist in the world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Vessels of ‘Light’, commissioned by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, and the American Society of Yad Vashem. The commissioned work was the realization of Ms. Cooper’s idea to honor the heroism of Chiune Sugihara, Japanese Vice-Consul to Lithuania during World War II. Her husband’s father, Irving Rosen, was rescued thanks to the lifesaving visas issued by Sugihara. Lera Auerbach’s Symphony No. 6 is dedicated to Chiune Sugihara and all those who risk everything to save others. The world premiere took place in Kaunas, Lithuania, the very city in which the Sugihara visas were issued. Upcoming performances of this work will take Ms. Cooper to Carnegie Hall for the U.S. Premiere in April of 2023, Los Angeles, Napa, Mexico City, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Paris. She will also appear as the star of a new documentary, currently in production, with Mark Wahlberg’s company, Unrealistic Ideas, entitled “A Symphony for Sugihara”.
Kristina Reiko Cooper received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, as well as her doctorate of musical arts from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Joel Krosnick. She is currently a visiting professor at the Buchmann Mehta School at Tel Aviv University. Very active philanthropically, she is Vice Chair of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and sits on the board of the Charney Forum for New Diplomacy.
Kristina plays on the 1743 Ex-Havermeyer G.B. Guadagnini cello and lives with her husband and three children in Tel Aviv, Israel.