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Shepherd professor and 2012 WVMTA commissioned composer premieres song cycle on Friday

ISSUED: 10 October 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd professor and 2012 WVMTA commissioned composer premieres song cycle on Friday)

Shepherdstown, WV--The song cycle Waking, composed by Dr. Mark Andrew Cook, director of music theory and composition at Shepherd University, will be premiered October 12 at 3:30 p.m. in the Walker Horton Shipley Recital Hall in the Frank Center. The performance is free and open to the public.

The piece is being presented as part of the West Virginia Music Teachers Association (WVMTA) conference and was composed in fulfillment of Cook's nomination as the WVMTA Commissioned Composer of the Year for 2012. The cycle of four songs for soprano and piano are settings of poetry by author Ron Rash from Waking. Rash was the Appalachian Heritage Writer in Residence at Shepherd in 2011, and the recent issue of the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, edited by Shepherd English professor Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, is focused upon his work.

Shepherd music alumna Lawren Diana Hill and Dr. Robert Scott Beard, professor of music at Shepherd, will premiere the piece. Hill is currently in the master's program in opera studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Dr. Beard is the associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at Shepherd.

Cook recently received several awards for his works and has achieved regional, national, and international recognition as a composer. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory in 1978 with a degree in music education, Cook joined the Shepherd faculty in 2005. He graduated from Catholic University with a master's degree in music theory in 1990 and doctorate in 2004. He is an honorary, fully-inducted member of Phi Mu Alpha, Xi Epsilon Chapter, the national music fraternity, and an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota, the national women's music fraternity. Cook performs throughout the region and is a jazz clinician and adjudicator. He is a guest lecturer in music theory and composition at the Barbara Ingram School of the Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland, and is currently writing an online textbook, "Foundations of Music Theory," to be released in July 2013 by Flat World Knowledge Publishing. Cook's Sonata for Piano has been performed throughout the region for the college music society and the society for music theory. Cook was named a finalist of the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011, awarded by the National Academy of Music in Greece for the "Changeling" Sonata.

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