Violinist Steven Copes leads a diverse and enthusiastic musical life as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. He joined the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as concertmaster in 1998, and since then has led the orchestra in several highly acclaimed, eclectic programs. He also appears frequently as soloist with the SPCO, performing concerti by Bach, Berg, Brahms, Hartmann, Hindemith, Kirchner, Korngold, Lutosławski, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Piazzolla, Prokofiev, Schnittke and Weill. In addition, he has performed as soloist with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Colorado Symphony, the São Paolo State Symphony, the Orlando Philharmonic and The Knights.
A zealous advocate of the music of today, he gave the world premiere of George Tsontakis' Grammy-nominated Violin Concerto No. 2 (2003), which won the 2005 Grawemeyer award and has been recorded for KOCH Records, and also gave the NY premiere of Lutosławski's Subito (1992) for Violin and Piano. In June of 2017 he will give the world premiere of Pierre Jalbert's Violin Concerto, with Thomas Zehetmair conducting the SPCO. He performed John Novacek's Four Rags with the composer on NPR's Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. Other recent solo engagements include the Korngold Violin Concerto with Rossen Milanov and the SPCO, Scott Yoo and the Festival Mozaic Orchestra, the Berg Chamber Concerto with pianist Kirill Gerstein at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Concerto Funebre with the SPCO, and the Berg Violin Concerto with the Orlando Philharmonic and music director Eric Jacobsen.
An avid chamber musician, Copes has performed at festivals and concert series including Aspen, Boston Chamber Music Society, Bridgehampton, Caramoor, Cartagena, Cello Plus, Chamber Music Northwest, Charlottesville, Colorado College, El Paso Pro Musica, Four Seasons, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, La Jolla Summerfest, Mainly Mozart, Marlboro, Moritzburg, Mozaic, Musical Masterworks, Norfolk, Piccolo Spoleto, Salt Bay Chamberfest, Santa Fe, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Skaneateles, Styriarte, Sweetwater Music Weekend, and at other festivals across the globe. He co-founded the Alpenglow Chamber Music Festival in Colorado as well as Accordo, a chamber music group in the Twin Cities, now in its eighth season.
A frequent guest concertmaster, Copes has recorded and toured extensively throughout Europe and Asia with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and performed in the same capacity with the Baltimore Symphony, London Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, and the San Francisco Symphony. A dedicated teacher as well, he has taught and coached at the Banff Centre in Canada, New World Symphony in Miami, Colorado College Summer Festival, East Carolina University, University of South Carolina, (Columbia), National Orchestral Institute in Maryland, Western Michigan University, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, University of Texas (Austin) and Roosevelt University in Chicago. A native of Los Angeles, he holds degrees from The Curtis Institute and Juilliard, and his teachers include Robert Lipsett, Aaron Rosand, Robert Mann and Felix Galimir. Copes performs on a new violin by Brooklyn maker Samuel Zygmuntowicz, patterned after the 'Kreutzer' Stradivarius of 1727.