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Zoco Ensemble
Zoco Ensemble

Zoco is an exciting ensemble in which Jacob Cordover and Laura Karney bring together the diverse elements of the oboe and guitar. Zoco has been heard in concert in Canada, Australia, England, Germany, France and Italy.

The pair met whilst Artists in Residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and it was in this setting they first performed together. Intrigued and surprised by the beauty created when the sounds of their instruments blended Mr. Cordover and Ms. Karney decided to form a duo.

Unperturbed by the scarcity of repertoire originally written for this combination of instruments,  Zoco began collecting repertoire in Banff and since then have discovered a plethora of works that suit the combination of sounds perfectly. As there is little original repertoire for this unique pair, many of the arrangements have been done by the duo themselves, and their diverse repertoire now includes Baroque sonatas, early Classical arias, Romantic lieder, Argentinean Tango, Brazilian Samba and Bossa Nova and and contemporary works written for Zoco.

In recent years, Zoco has worked with specialist Carlo Barone on the historically informed style and performance practice of early 19th Century music. Through their performances of this repertoire on original period instruments, audiences have been able to rediscover the excitement and drama of music inspired by Italian Opera.

Laura Karney – oboe & english horn

Currently residing in Barcelona, Spain, Laura Karney is an oboist who enjoys a successful free-lance career that has so far spanned 13 countries across 3 continents.  Hugely varied in her interests, Ms. Karney can be heard performing on both oboe and English horn, in concerts ranging from historically informed performances of Baroque and Classical repertoire on period instruments to working with contemporary composers and ensembles and giving world premiers.

Ms. Karney has worked with the SEM ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Cosmopolitan City Orchestra, Peconic Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra, the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz and the Orquesta de Valencia in Spain. She is also a founding member of Zoco, a guitar and oboe duo, the Prestige Quartet a wind ensemble, the Skogensemble a small chamber ensemble currently working on a chamber opera by a young American composer and the multimedia chamber music ensemble Ardesco, comprising of string quartet, bass, oboe and lighting designer.

The foundations of her performing career came from her undergraduate and post graduate studies in oboe at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and the Hochschule for Musik in Trossingen, Germany under the tutelage of the internationally renowned oboists Richard Killmer and Nicholas Daniel, and her work with Martin Stadler and Carlo Barone on historical performance practice and instruments.

Jacob Cordover

Enjoying a vibrant and varied international career, Jacob Cordover has appeared on stage throughout Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Philippines, Slovakia, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the USA, as a soloist and in his chamber ensembles, Zoco Duo (with oboist Laura Karney) and the Australian Guitar Duo (with Rupert Boyd). His solo CD Stélé, recorded in 2004, is regularly featured on Australian radio and was hailed by Classical Guitar Magazine (UK) as “wonderfully sympathetic and highly accomplished… Cordover managing to get to the very soul of this striking and brilliant music.”

Following his performance as soloist with the Orquestra Simfònica de Balears “Ciutat de Palma” conducted by Geoffrey Simon, Mr. Cordover was praised as “an exceptional guitarist” by the music critic for the publication Ultima Hora. Jacob has also appeared as soloist with the Orchestra dell’Accademia l’Ottocento conducted by Carlo Barone performing Mauro Giuliani’s Primier Grand Concerto Op. 30 on a an original Gaetano Guadagnini guitar made in Italy in 1828. His strong interest in the application of appropriate performance practice of 19th-Century music has led to a number of historically informed performances of this repertoire on a variety of period guitars.

Aside from his formative studies at the Australian National University School of Music with renowned performer and pedagogue Timothy Kain, Jacob has undertaken post-graduate studies with Laura Young and Arnaldur Arnarson at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya and the Escola Luthier in Barcelona, Spain and with Carlo Barone at the Academia l’Ottocento in Paris, France. Masterclasses with Pavel Stiedl, Manuel Barrueco, Ricardo Gallen and Sergio Assad (amongst others) have also been influential in his playing. Complementing his performance schedule, Mr. Cordover has won prizes and awards in international competitions the world over and has been the recipient of grants from: the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Tasmania, the Ian Potter Cultural Trust, the Australian National University Friends of the School of Music, artsACT, Swiss Global Artistic Foundation and the Australian Music Foundation.