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Dr. Mark Andrew Cook

mark_cookDr. Mark Andrew Cook, came to Shepherd University as Director of Jazz Studies and as a member of the Music Theory Faculty. He was appointed the Director for Music Theory and Composition in 2008. He continues to serve on the Jazz Faculty. He was promoted to Full Professor of Music in 2017.

Previously, Dr. Cook was Jazz Ensemble Director and a member of the Music Theory Faculty at The Catholic University of America, and an Adjunct Music Theory Faculty member at Towson University.  He was Professor of Music at Montgomery College, teaching Music Theory and allied subjects, Jazz studies, Jazz Vocal Coaching, directing the Jazz Ensembles, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Music Theater productions.  Ultimately, he served as Music Director and Conductor for the Montgomery College/Rockville Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to his duties at Shepherd University, he served as Guest Lecturer in Music Theory and Composition at The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. At BISFA, he conducted the Contemporary Music and Jazz Ensembles.  Additionally, he plays for, and has recorded with, the Jazz Faculty at the prestigious Landon School in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Cook served as Clinician, then as Director for The Maryland Summer Jazz Consortium from 1984-2017. He served for a number of years as Director, and subsequently clinician, for Shepherd University Summer Jazz.

He holds Master and Doctoral degrees in Music Theory from The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music within The Catholic University of America and a BMed from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied in the trumpet studio of Baltimore Symphony Principal Emeritus Donald R. Tison. While studying at Catholic University, he studied Composition under Dr. Gerald Frank Muller, Musicology under Dr. (Sr.) Cyrilla Barr, and Conducting under Dr. Robert Wayne Ricks.

His dissertation, under the direction of Dr. Steven Gerhardt Strunk and Dr. Paul Garvin Taylor, examined proportional design (GS) and set content in Paul Hindemith’s symphony Die Harmonie der Welt, the predicate symphony for the eponymously titled opera. His Master’s thesis was an examination and analysis of the music of The Aesthetic Research Ensemble. Baltimore composers Alec Bernstein and Daniel Carney designed early program language and invented computer controlled, semi-automated attachments for acoustic instruments for which they composed fascinating music.

An active and in-demand Jazz pianist, his most recent recording, Mark Andrew Cook Jazz Group Live at St. John’s, has garnered high praise and is available from CDBaby, iTunes, Spotify and a host of other world-wide distributive agencies.

A published author, his Foundations of Music Theory: Fundamental Concepts in the Language of Music and Dicta Musica: An Aural Skills Manual are available through BVT Publishing ( and his newest offering, Dicta Jazz: Exercises for Jazz Piano, is published through South Mountain Music. These works have received international recognition and praise.

Dr. Cook has conducted master classes as follows:
~Jazz Influence and Interpretation in Orchestral Works: an examination and analysis of orchestral literature employing aspects of Jazz.
~Jazz Pedagogy for Piano Instructors: Jazz pedagogical techniques from a theoretical approach.
~Proportional Design in 20th-Century Music.
~Music Theory as a premise for Jazz Improvisation.

Music Theory consultant for Phillips International for auto-tutorial CD-ROM project.

An active composer (ASCAP), his works are published through Subito Music Distributors and/or South Mountain Music and have been performed at Conferences of the College Music Society and the International Convention of the Society of Composers and other regional, national, and international venues. He was awarded Finalist status in the Master Composer category from International Music Prizes in Composition.

His Symphony for Wind Ensemble, Dawn at Fox Gap, (composed for the Shepherd University Wind Ensemble and dedicated to Director Dr. Scott Allen Hippensteel) received its world premiere at Shepherd University in April 2018. It has received Semi-Finalist status for The American Prize. 2019 saw the inclusion of Symphony for Wind Ensemble: Dawn at Fox Gap in The Wind Repertory Project, an international database if wind band literature.

In the Summer of 2019, Dr. Cook composed Piano Sonata No. 2 (Apotropaic Periapts) and Symphony No. 1 (Sine Nomine).

Dr. Cook composed a song cycle, Waking, upon poems of Shepherd University Appalachian Heritage guest poet Ron Rash in fulfillment of a commission from WVMTA. The cycle was premiered at Shepherd University (by Soprano Lawren Diana Hill Palmer and Pianist, now Provost, Dr. Robert Scott Beard). Also, it was performed by Mrs. Palmer at The Manhattan School of Music in New York. Additionally, this cycle was selected for the Director’s Choice Award for Art Song from the Boston Contempo Opera Festival, as well as World Oceans Contemporary Music Ensemble.

His Sonata for Trumpet and Piano received its world premiere at the Alba Music Festival, Alba, Italy in 2012, performed by Nicholas Corasaniti and Simone Sarno.  It has since been dedicated to these astounding artists as well as recorded by them.

His Five Meditations Upon Saints for Organ was premiered by Organist and Choirmaster Mark King in 2015 and 2016 at St. John’s Episcopal Parish, Hagerstown, Maryland.

In 2016, Dr. Cook completed Sundogs, a concert overture for orchestra.

Music for the Anglican Service (Ninefold Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Die) was to be performed in the Spring of 2020. This was delayed under the Covid 19 emergency.

Dr. Cook is also a classical trumpet player and served recently as the Principal Trumpet for the Montgomery Philharmonic Orchestra. Preciously he served as Principal Trumpet for the MC/R Symphony Orchestra (prior to becoming Conductor and Artistic Director) and additionally served as, first, Solo Flügelhorn, then as Solo Cornet for the Rockville English Brass Band. He performs as a soloist and chamber player throughout the region, including the Verienigte Kirche (the German Church) in Washington, DC, the Prelude Brass Quintet and Herald Trumpeter at the Phillips Collection.

As a section Tenor or Bass/Baritone, he sings with the Chancel Choir of St. John’s Episcopal Parish in Hagerstown, Maryland, and has sung for the choir at the Vereinigte Kirche in Washington.

As a Jazz pianist, he led his own group, Set Theory, whose CD, Prime Form (featuring the late Chris Vadala and Spyro Gyra bassist Scott Ambush, bassist Steve Zerlin and drummer and co-leader the late Marty Knepp) won critical acclaim. He is the pianist for the Mike Kamuf Little Big Band. A CD/DVD of their performance at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival was released in 2013. A second video is forthcoming from MKLBB’s set at MAJF in 2020

His latest release, Mark Andrew Cook Jazz Group Live at St. John’s was recorded and released in the summer and fall of 2016 and is available in CD or digital media on iTunes, Spotify, CDBaby, and a host of other digital outlets (see above). The recording features the talents of Chris Vadala (Woodwinds), Mike Kamuf (Trumpet/Flügelhorn), David W. Marsh III (Bass) and Ronnie Shaw (Drums). The recording predominantly consists of Dr. Cook’s Jazz compositions, including Ballad for Bill, in memory of William Orie (Bill) Potts.

He is pianist/keyboardist for Dave Detwiler’s White House Band, performing throughout the East Coast at venues such as Blues Alley, The New State Theater, The Hylton Center for the Performing Arts, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and scores of concert venues and colleges and festivals throughout the Eastern US.

Dr. Cook is Pianist and Music Director for The Martinsburg Jazz Orchestra.

~Mark Andrew Cook Jazz Group Live at St. Johns (Pianist and writing credits).  iTunes, Spotify, CDbaby, etc.
~Set Theory (as Co-Leader): Prime Form
~The Chris Vadala Group, Out of the Shadows (Piano, keyboards, writing credits);
~The Frank Condon Orchestra
Sophisticated Lady
                  You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To
~Chris Vadala Play-along, Curnow Publishing
~Vaughn Nark (arranging credits)
~The Players
~The Mike Kamuf Little Big Band, Live at The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (CD/DVD)
~Montgomery College Faculty Jazz
~CUA Faculty Jazz and Guests
~Shepherd University Faculty Jazz
~Waking, Song Cycle for Soprano and Piano (Lawren Diana Hill Palmer, Soprano, Dr. Robert Scott Beard, Piano)
~Piano Sonata No. 1, The Changeling (Jason Solounias, Piano)
~Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, Alba (Italy) Music Festival, Nicholas Corasaniti (Trumpet) and Simone Sarno (Piano)
~Meditations Upon Saints for Organ, (Mark King, Organist)
~Numerous studio dates and freelance recording sessions
~Archival recordings of academic, guest artist, and ensemble performances

Performance venues (Piano) (selected list only)
Shepherd University (Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra, Faculty Jazz Concerts, Friends of Music events, Shipley Recital Hall Dedication, Pianist and Jazz Ensemble Director for FOM Tuxedo Junction fundraisers, numerous other events), Manhattan School of Music, Catholic University, Montgomery College, University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Frostburg State College, Salisbury State University, Mary Washington College, Washington College, Chesapeake College, Prince George’s Community College, Harford Community College, Howard Community College, Anne Arundel Community College, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (we established the concert series that evolved into the Millennium Stage), The Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center, The Armand Hammer Auditorium of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Phillips Collection, The National Gallery of Art Baird Auditorium, The Hirschorn Museum, The National Air and Space Museum, The DC War Memorial Stage, The Walters Art Gallery, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Strathmore Center for the Arts, Hagerstown Museum of Fine Arts, Montpelier Arts Center, King Farm Concert Series, The Torpedo Factory Museum and Art Colony (Alexandria), The Smithsonian Institute, The United States Capitol, The Maryland Governor’s Mansion, The Mansion of the Governor for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Vail (CO) Arts Council Gala, The Cloisters (NYC), The Cloisters (Baltimore), The Shore Jazz Festival, The Berks Jazz Festival, The Herndon Jazz Festival, The Cape May Jazz Festival, The Alexandria Waterfront Jazz Festival, The Chestertown Jazz Festival (opening for Joey DeFrancesco), The Reston Town Concert Series, Blues Alley Jazz and Supper Club, The Maryland Inn (King of France Tavern), One-Step Down, The Islander Jazz Club, Madam’s Organ, Adams Morgan Day Festivals, Twins Jazz I and II, The Wharf, The 219 (Basin Street Lounge), Landini’s Alexandria, The Balcony Jazz Club (Pittsburgh), The Hotel Penn, The 9:30 Club (opening for The Clash and opening for members of Lynyrd Skynyrd), The Worcester Theater (opening for The Monkees), The State Theater (concert and digital simulcast), Bennies of Baltimore, The Haven Lounge, HR 57 Jazz Club, Ethel’s Supper Club (Ethel Ennis), The Engineer’s Club (Baltimore), The Inner Harbor Concert Series, Pier 5 Baltimore, Artscape Baltimore (and Art EScape), Pearl’s Jazz Club, The Back of the Rack, The Roseland Ballroom NYC, the World Trade Centers in NYC and Baltimore, Ladew Topiary Gardens, The Saloon, Bentz Street Raw Bar, Prince Georges Philharmonic Orchestra, The New Bohemian Caverns, Zanzibar Smooth Jazz Fest (opening for Pieces of Dreams), The Willard Intercontinental Hotel (Staff Pianist), The Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Staff Pianist), The Four Seasons Hotel, The Mayflower Hotel, The Washington Hilton, The Greenbriar Hotel and Resort, Salamander Resort, British Embassy, French Embassy, German Embassy, Inaugural Balls in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2008, and innumerable concert and club dates.

Trumpet Performances (selected list only)
Principal Trumpet, Montgomery Philharmonic Orchestra; Die Vereinigte Kirche (The German Church), Washington DC, Principal Trumpet, Montgomery College Symphony Orchestra; Principal Trumpet, Eastern Shore Symphony; Annapolis Symphony; Annapolis Opera; Camerata Brass Quintet; Eastern Shore Brass Quintet; St. Matthew’s Cathedral Chamber Orchestra; The National Cathedral Church of Sts. Peter and Paul (Guest Artist: brass ensemble and chorister); The Mt. Vernon Memorial Methodist Church Orchestra; The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; The National Memorial Methodist Church; Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Chamber Orchestra and Chorus; St. John’s Episcopal Church, The Kennedy Center; Catholic University Brass Ensemble; Solo Cornet (and Flugelhorn), Montgomery College British Brass Band (performances at Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne University); Lead (and section) Trumpet, Montgomery College Jazz Ensemble (under Bill Potts); Clyde Hunt Jazz Orchestra; Salisbury State University (with The Aesthetic Research Ensemble, digitally controlled acoustic media and trumpet); solo, chamber, and pit orchestra performances

Appearances as a Clinician and/or Adjudicator
Instrumental Music Adjudicator Jazz Clinician and Adjudicator University of Maryland College Park, Shepherd University, Frostburg State College, Mid-Atlantic Regional IAJE Conference at York College (also Planning Board), Gettysburg College Jazz Festival, Catonsville Community College Solo Competition, Villa Nova University, Facilitator and Host for Jamey Aebersold Jazz and Improvisation Clinic at Montgomery College, 1993-1999, Maryland All-State Jazz, Washington County All-County Honors Jazz, Anne Arundel Community College, Blue Ridge HS, Scranton, PA Berkeley County and Jefferson County (WV) Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools (Jazz-, Wind Ensemble-, and Solo and Ensemble Festivals; All-County Honors Jazz), Carroll County Public Schools, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, Frederick County Public Schools, Howard County Public Schools, Baltimore County Public Schools, Prince Georges County Public Schools, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (Arundel Jazz Festival), Jefferson, Clarke, and Fauquier (VA) County Public Schools, IAJE-MD Jazz Festival (served as Director/Coordinator from 1991-1997), The Landon School (Jazz and Instrumental Music), The DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys, St. Catherine Labouré School for Girls, Artist in Residence for the Silver Spring International School, 2006-2008, Artist in Residence for Ridgeview Middle School, The Catholic University of America.

As a Conductor
~Montgomery College Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble academic calendar concerts, 1986-1996, performing standard literature from both repertoires
~Rockville English Brass Band Interim Conductor, 1992
~Shepherd University Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band, 2005-2010
Performances in London at St. Paul’s Covent Garden (“The Actor’s Church”), Southwark Cathedral, and in Bath, the Parade Bandstand
~Academic Mainstage and Summer Dinner Theater Productions, Montgomery College: 42nd Street, Once Upon A Mattress, The Boys From Syracuse, Fiddler on the Roof, The Pajama Game, Evita, U.S. premiere of Chess (London Concept Album version)

Dr. Cook has performed with Bill Potts, Chris Vadala and Friends, Mike Kamuf Little Big Band, Jamey Aebersold, The Vaughn Nark Group, Tim Eyermann’s East Coast Offering, Mike Crotty and Deater O’Neill, The Grainger Brothers, David W. Marsh III and Ronnie Shaw (Bassist and Drummer for the Three Mo’ Tenors), Tom Williams, Frank Russo, Steve Novosel, Rick Whitehead, The legendary Keter Betts, Harold Mann (House Drummer, Howard Theater), Scott Ambush (Bassist for Spyro Gyra), Jon Previti and Barry Hart (Bassist and Drummer for the late, great Danny Gatton), Keith Kilgo (Drummer for The Blackbyrds, and many others, and host on BET), MGSGT Glenn Dewey, USMC President’s Own, Kurtis Adams Quartet, Tim Hagans, Grady Tate, J.R. Monterose, Bob James, Rufus Reid, Charlie Daniels (with The Washington Orchestra), The Coasters, The Drifters, The Spinners, Montgomery College Faculty Jazz, Catholic University Faculty Jazz, Shepherd University Faculty Jazz, Carmen Balthrop, Rachelle Fleming, and played exactly four choruses of the blues with the legendary Al Cohn!

Call or write:
Dr. Mark Andrew Cook
School of Music
Shepherd University
Shepherdstown, WV 25443
304.876.5115 or 800.344.5231 ext. 5115