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Dr. Mark Andrew Cook

mark_cookDr. Mark Andrew Cook came to Shepherd University in 2005 as the Director of Jazz Studies, a special faculty position created under the auspices of the Friends of Music and the University. He now serves as Director of Music Theory and Composition and continues to serve on the Jazz faculty. From 2000-2005 he was a member of the Theory Faculty and the Jazz Ensemble Director in the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at The Catholic University of America. Concurrently he served as an adjunct music theory faculty member at Towson University. From 1986-2000 he was an Associate Professor of Music at Montgomery College, where he directed the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensembles through 1996. From 1996 to 2000 Dr. Cook served as Music Director and Conductor for the Montgomery College Symphony Orchestra. In addition to conducting academic performances during semesters, he conducted children’s outreach and community concert performances, as well as other chamber orchestra concerts. He also conducted (or was Music Director for) The Robert Parilla Performing Arts Center Mainstage and Summer Dinner Theater productions of Evita, Once Upon a Mattress, Fiddler on the Roof, 42nd Street, The Boys from Syracuse, and Chess.

Dr. Cook teaches (or has taught) Music Theory, Aural Skills, History of Jazz, History of American Popular Music, Jazz Lab and Combo, and Applied subjects including trumpet, Jazz piano and improvisation, conducting, composition (both Articulate music and Jazz), and served as a Jazz vocal coach. From 1986 to 2005 he served the Maryland State Unit, International Association of Jazz Educators, Summer Jazz Consortium, first as a clinician, then as Director (from 1992). He returned to MD-SJC as a clinician in 2007, and continues to serve as Co-Director. At Shepherd University he co-directs the annual Shepherd University Music Department Jazz Camp.

He served as Minister of Music and Choir Director for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Laytonsville Maryland (2001-2005) and is a member of the Guild of Episcopal Church Musicians.

Dr. Cook serves as Guest Lecturer in Music Theory and Composition for the Barbara Ingram High School for the Arts in Hagerstown Maryland, where he also directs the Jazz Ensemble. He is also a member of the Curriculum Advisory Committee for the Fine, Performing, and Visual Arts for Hagerstown Community College.

He served as Treasurer for the Maryland Unit of IAJE, was an ex-officio member of that organization’s board (continuing to serve on the reconstituted Maryland Unit Board), and served on the Mid-Atlantic IAJE Conference Planning Committee, at which he performed as well. He also served as representative (from Montgomery College and from Catholic University) to the Council for Higher Education in Music. Dr. Cook is an active clinician and adjudicator throughout the region. Former students have garnered many awards and honors, including scholarships, grants, and the Billie Holiday Jazz Vocal Competition. Many students have continued their studies at the Graduate level in prestigious institutions in the United States and Europe.

An active composer, his works were recently selected for performance at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter Conference of the College Music Society and the National Convention of the Society of Composers. In December 2011, he was awarded Finalist status (from 210 worldwide submissions) in the Master Composer category from the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition, awarded by the National Academy of Music in Greece. He recently completed a song cycle (Waking) on the poems of Shepherd University Appalachian Heritage Writer in Residence and poet Ron Rash in fulfillment of a commission from WVMTA, premiered at Shepherd and subsequently performed at the Manhattan School of Music. His Sonata for Trumpet and Piano received its world premiere at the Alba Music Festival, Alba, Italy in May 2012, performed by former student Nicholas Corasaniti and Pianist Simone Sarno.

Dr. Cook recently authored Foundations of Music Theory, an online textbook, and an Aural Skills manual, Dicta Musica.

Dr. Cook holds a BMed from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (where he studied trumpet under Donald R. Tison, Principal Emeritus, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra), an M.A. in Musicology (Music Theory), and a Ph.D. in Music Theory, both from The Catholic University of America. He studied composition under Gerald Francis Muller, conducting under Robert Wayne Ricks and studied theory subjects under George Thaddeus Jones, Dr. Ricks, Paul Garvin Taylor and Steven Gerhardt Strunk. He studied music history under Dr. Cyrilla Barr and Dr. Ruth Steiner.

His thesis examines music of the Aesthetic Research Ensemble (composers and inventors Alec Bernstein and Daniel Carney), whose compositions employ semi-automated acoustic media. His dissertation examines proportional design (GS proportions) and set content in the musical apotheosis of Paul Hindemith’s predicate symphony to the opera Die Harmonie der Welt. In addition to his formal training, Dr. Cook also pursued additional studies in recording studio engineering and radio (having held an FCC broadcasting license), Jazz studies with the legendary Bill Potts, as well as theory and Jazz with Dr. James Vincent Badolato.

As a performer, Dr. Cook played trumpet in various ensembles and settings, including the Mt. Vernon Chamber Orchestra, the Trinity (Georgetown) Chamber Orchestra, the MC Symphony Orchestra (Principal), the MC/Rockville English Brass Band (solo cornet and flugelhorn), and the Camerata Brass Quintet. Currently he is Principal Trumpet for the Montgomery Philharmonic Orchestra.

He has numerous arranging and composing credits, including Chris Vadala’s CD, Out of the Shadows, on which he was also pianist, and for Vaughn Nark.

As a Jazz pianist, Dr. Cook performs extensively throughout the region. He performed with the Two-Rivers Chamber Orchestra (2010 and 2011). He performs with the Shepherd University Faculty Jazz Group, featuring SU Director of Jazz Studies and Saxophonist, Dr. Kurtis Adams, Drummer Ronnie Shaw and Bassist David Marsh (both of the Three Mo’ Tenors). He also leads his own group Set Theory, whose CD, Prime Form, has received critical acclaim. The CD features the virtuosic talents of Drummer/Co-Leader Marty Knepp, Woodwind Artist Chris Vadala, Bassist Steve Zerlin and Spyro Gyra Bassist Scott Ambush. As pianist for the Mike Kamuf Little Big Band, a CD/DVD was released of their performance at The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival. He is also the pianist for David Detwiler’s “White House band,” performing at Blues Alley, The State Theater and many other Jazz and concert venues. He has performed with Bill Potts, Chris Vadala, Jamey Aebersold, Vaughn Nark, Tim Eyermann’s East Coast Offering, Keith Kilgo (of The Balckbyrds and BET fame), Mike Crotty and Deater O’Neill, Rufus Reid, Scott Ambush (Spyro Gyra bassist), Keter Betts, Steve Novosel, Bob James, J.R., Monterose, Charlie Daniels, and Vocalist Rachelle Fleming, among many others, and played exactly four choruses of the blues with the legendary Al Cohn.

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