Victor Michael Coo

1982 -

Victor Coo, prize-winning cellist, has been hailed as one of the great artists of his generation, a gift to the cultural scene in the Philippines, his native country, and more broadly to the international music world. His mesmerizing interaction with audiences as he plays and his accomplishments have made him a captivating performer and an inspiration for aspiring young cellists.

Coo is a third-generation Seventh-day Adventist musician, the grandson of Eliseo Paulino Arevalo, a pioneer SDA musician in the Philippines. Victor's mother, Corazon Arevalo Coo, a daughter of Elizeo, is an educator and pianist who was a music administrator and has taught music lessons for many years; his brother and sister, Jonathan and Cecilia, are well-known, highly praised performers on piano and violin, respectively.

Victor began playing the cello before enrolling in the Philippine High School for the Arts. He first gained national attention when he performed in the winners' concert at the National Competition for Young Artists in the Philippines at age fourteen. Coo subsequently won the Haydn Cello Competition in Manila and then spent a summer at the Interlochen Arts Camp in the U.S., where he was a winner in the concerto competition and was featured as a soloist with the World Youth Orchestra.

He continued his study at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, where he won several competitions and awards. He completed a B.A. in music at Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University, and then earned an M.Mus. at the University of Maryland. He was the recipient of the Neil Tilkens Music Award at CUC and the winner of the Homer Ulrich Award's competition at UM. He completed a D.M.A. in cello performance at Michigan State University in 2009.

During his time at CUC and UM he was principal cellist in and soloist with the New England Youth Ensemble. He toured internationally and played in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall while in that ensemble

He attended the Ecole d' Art Americanes de Fountainebleau in France in 2003 on full scholarship, where he won a Chamber Prize as part of the Kodaly Duo. In a return in 2006, he won the Casadesus Prize. He then performed in October of that year in New York under the auspices of Ecole d' Art Americanes de Fountainebleau.

In 2005, Coo debuted with the Manila Philharmonic, playing the Dvorak concerto and receiving an ovation few cellists have been given in that country. In 2007 he again played in Manilla, giving a historic totally unaccompanied recital that earned a standing ovation.


Sources: Program Notes, "Benefit Concert for the Minnie Iverson Wood Performing Arts Hall," Adventist University of the Philippines, a series of concerts in Southern California in 2008; Pablo Teriman, "Finally, a cello idol on Manila's music scene," Philippine Daily Inquirer, 23 June 2008; Cecilia Coo Cruz, "Getting to know Faso,", 10 March 2009; other online sources.