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Shepherd professor named 2012 WVMTA commissioned composer

By Staff | May 15, 2012

Dr. Mark Andrew Cook, assistant professor of music and director of music theory and composition at Shepherd University, has been named as the West Virginia Music Teachers Association (WVMTA) Commissioned Composer for 2012.

Dr. Cook has begun to work on a song cycle for soprano and piano. Wishing to explore relevant subject materials, Dr. Cook sought the advice of Dr. Sylva Bailey Shurbutt, Shepherd professor of English and Appalachian Heritage Writer in Residence project director. Dr. Shurbutt suggested the Anthology of Appalachian writers as a source, as well as Shepherd faculty members and the Appalachian Heritage Writer in Resident Ron Rash.

Shepherd alumni Lawren Hill and Jason Solounias have agreed to perform the cycle at the 2012 WVMTA Conference, held at Shepherd in October.

Dr. Cook graduated from the Peabody Conservatory with a degree in music education and Catholic University with a master’s degree and doctorate in music theory. He came to Shepherd in 2005. Dr. Cook performs throughout the region and is in demand as 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, Md., and is currently writing an online textbook titled Foundations of Music Theory to be released in July by Flat World Knowledge Publishing.

Dr. Cook’s Sonata for piano has been performed throughout the region for the College Music Society and the Society for Music Theory. He 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.