Newly Appointed Music Director Debuts with COM Symphony Orchestra

December 7th, 2015 - 10:48pm

Conductor, pianist, composer, and educator Jim Stopher seeks to bring high-quality, affordable live classical music to Marinites

KENTFIELD, CA—This fall, College of Marin welcomed Jim Stopher as a new full-time instructor in the Music Department. Saturday he makes his debut as music director of the College of Marin Symphony Orchestra (COMSO) as they perform some of Mozart’s most inspired piano music for full orchestra, adapted by Tchaikovsky. Concert highlights also include music by Anderson and Brahms, as well as Schubert’s sublime “Unfinished” Symphony. In addition to his role directing COMSO, Stopher teaches a variety of music classes at COM that cover ear training for music majors and offerings for students who are eager to learn about classical music or music fundamentals.

Stopher recently completed four seasons with the Joliet Symphony Orchestra (JSO). During his time with the JSO, Stopher increased the orchestra's size, tripled the audience, doubled the number of performances, and elevated musical standards to become the area's top instrumental ensemble. Under Stopher's leadership, the JSO received grants from the city of Joliet, had repeat invitations to perform at the historic Rialto Square Theater, and began "Music on a Mission," a project in which orchestra members engage with local organizations, schools, and businesses through performance and volunteerism.

Looking forward to this upcoming performance, he is hopeful that students, faculty, staff, and the Marin community will attend. “It’s a great way to take in some artful entertainment right after finals are over,” said Stopher.

A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, Stopher studied with Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar, and Marin Alsop. Among his professional achievements, he is a winner of the International Conductors' Workshop and Competition, and has also been honored by the Conductors' Guild as a finalist for its biennial Thelma E. Robinson award. Stopher has served as cover conductor with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for Marin Alsop, Robert Spano, and Gunther Herbig, and has participated in master classes with Kenneth Kiesler, Carl Topilow, and Donald Thulean. Prior to his enrollment at Peabody, Stopher earned a master of music degree under Thomas Cockrell at the University of Arizona, where he held a fellowship, directed the University Philharmonic, and was assistant conductor of the Arizona Symphony.

Committed to new music, Stopher has given many world premieres as conductor and pianist. With the Baltimore-based Figaro Project, he led performances of three groundbreaking new opera commissions. Stopher studied music theory and composition at Harvard University, and is an active composer whose works have been performed by the Sebastian Chamber Orchestra, the Navitas String Quartet, and the Harvard Group for New Music.

WHAT: Mozart Meets Tchaikovsky
WHEN: Saturday, December 12, at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Performing Arts Building, James Dunn Theatre
Suggested donation: $10 adults, $5 COM employees, students, retirees, alumni

Brahms: Hungarian Dances nos. 1, 3, and 5
Mozart/Tchaikovsky: “Mozartiana”
Schubert: Symphony no. 8, “Unfinished”
Anderson: Sleigh Ride