ISSUED: 13 January 2012 MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens (Shepherd’s Dr. Mark Cook named finalist in international competition)
Shepherdstown, WV—Dr. Mark Cook, director for music theory and composition at Shepherd University, was recently named a finalist of the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011, awarded by the National Academy of Music in Greece.
Cook, who submitted his piece “Piano Sonata” to the master status category of the competition, is among more than 210 compositions from entrants worldwide. The piece was originally written for former student of the department, Jason Solounias. Cook said that the work was “unfinished strands” of music from throughout his career and requires being performed by someone who possesses the intuitive and aesthetic skills allowing for spontaneous composition.
Each submission was evaluated by at least five members of the artistic committee; only entrants who had been nominated by at least four members of the artistic committee were declared finalists of the competition.
“I was very pleased and quite frankly surprised and shocked to see that I had been named a finalist in the master composing category,” said Cook.
Cook said he submitted his work to see where he stood in the music world and to receive feedback from other composers and people who evaluate composers.
A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory in 1978 with a degree in music education, Cook came to Shepherd 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 in demand as a jazz clinician and adjudicator. Cook 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 by Flat World Knowledge Publishing.