Bulletin staff reports
A piano concert featuring Dr. R. Kent Cook, head professor of piano at Illinois Wesleyan University, will be held Sunday, Feb. 16, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, corner of Powers and North streets in Manteca. The program, under the auspices of the Manteca Kindred Arts Concert Association, will begin at 3 p.m.
Admission is $15 each for adults, $5 for anyone under 18 years old, or season ticket.
Cook keeps an active schedule as soloist and chamber musician and has performed in venues throughout the United States and abroad. Regionally, he has appeared in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In Europe, he has performed in Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany and Italy.
He hails from Odessa, Texas, where he began to play the piano at age sic. He attended Baylor University to pursue dentistry, but quickly began serious study of the piano. After finishing a Piano Performance degree with honors under the guidance of Roger Keyes, he continued his studies at Indiana University, receiving both his master’s and doctorate degrees in Piano Performance. He has worked with distinguished pianists Leonard Hokanson, Eteri Andjaparidze, Michael Block, James James Tocco, and Karen Shaw. In 1992-93, he studied with Herbert Seidel as a Fulbright Scholar at the Hochschule fur Musik in Frankfurt, Germany.
Before joining the piano faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University in 1999, Cook served on music faculties at DePauw University, the Indiana University Piano Academy, and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He is currently active as an adjudicator and master teacher throughout the Midwest, and during the summer, teaches at the Illinois Chamber Music Festival. In 2009, he joined the faculty of the International Chamber Music Festival based in Kyustendil, Bulgaria.
Cook released his first recording in 2002 on the Novitas labe. Entitled Hachtstuck, it is a recording of 12 Nocturnes by seven different composers including Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann. Soon to be released are two recordings, one featuring Debussy’s Preludes for Piano, and trio recording with longtime collaborators oboist Roger Roe and violinist Michael Isaac Strauss.