Born in Burlington, Vermont and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Jonathan Chapman Cook (b. 1984) currently resides in Lexington, Virginia.
As a composer, Jonathan has recently composed new works for Latitude 49 and the Garth Newel Piano Quartet. Recent compositions include “Those lights in the waters of heaven are stars...”, a concerto movement in miniature for toy piano accompanied by piano quartet, which was premiered by the Garth Newel Quartet with Genevieve Lee in March of 2013; “Be Thou My Vision: Remixed,” for organ, piano, and electric cello, an electrifying setting of the hymn tune of the same name which was premiered with cellist Zachary Boyt in September 2013; and his Piano Etude No. 1, “A Study in Self-Knowledge,” composed in October 2013 and premiered by the composer at Western Michigan University on a program of all contemporary music. His music has been performed by many excellent musicians, including soprano Carrie-Anne Winter, horn player Lin Foulk, percussionist Joe Tucker, and baritone Carl Ratner. Larger ensemble works have been presented under the batons of conductors Christopher Ramaekers and James Bass.
As a pianist, Jonathan has recently been featured as a guest artist at the University of Michigan, Washington and Lee University, Garth Newel Music Center, and was presented on the Distinguished Alumni Recital Series at Western Michigan University. Along with his love of the great classical composers, Jonathan is an avid proponent of contemporary music, and has premiered works by Cassandra Kaczor, Donia Jarrar, Evan Ware, and Byron Petty. Recent concerto performances have included Beethoven's Choral Fantasy at Washington and Lee under the baton of Shane Lynch, and Manuel De Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain with the Rockbridge Symphony under Mark Taylor.
Since earning his master's degree, Jonathan has rekindled and formalized his childhood love of improvisation, performing five concerts to date of entirely improvised music. These concerts have included two performances in celebration of the 2013 vernal equinox, and three of four concerts in a series of recitals devoted to the elements. Water, Fire, and Air have been presented, and the series awaits completion with the upcoming performance of Earth. Jonathan has also collaborated with dancer Chanel Smith on several entirely improvised performances.
Trained in organ performance, church music, and hymnology by master organist Karl Schrock, Jonathan enthusiastically maintains an active practice as a church organist. He is currently employed as musical director and organist at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Hot Springs, Virginia, a position he has held since 2012.
Working out of his home studio on his beautiful 1913 Steinway Model O, Jonathan teaches a studio of roughly 36 students of all ages. Learn more about Jonathan's teaching practice here.
Jonathan received his Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance and Music Composition from Western Michigan University in 2009, where he studied piano with Lori Sims and composition with C. Curtis-Smith and Richard Adams. As a student at WMU, Jonathan pursued a multitude of interests in addition to his primary studies as a composer and pianist, including organ performance, church music, choral, vocal, and instrumental accompanying, poetry, singing, philosophy, and environmental studies. He served for two years as teaching assistant with full scholarship in the composition area as the only undergraduate to have ever filled this position. Jonathan was also named the Presser Scholar his senior year. Other notable achievements during his time at WMU include performing in the Fontana Chamber Music Festival, accompanying the award-winning University Chorale to the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, where he performed a Beethoven Piano Sonata for a local Austrian audience, and receiving a commission from New Music Project 2008, for which he composed a large work titled “Lunar Modulations,” based on the poetry of T. E. Hulme, for mezzo-soprano (augmented by contact mic), string sextet, and two percussionists. A highlight of his studies at WMU was having his choral work, June Night, recorded by the University Chorale under the baton of James Bass.
Following his years at WMU, Jonathan attended graduate school for his Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he studied piano with Christopher Harding. There he won the Stravinsky Concerto Competition and subsequently performed the Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Winds in Hill Auditorium under the baton of Michael Haithcock. He also performed Beethoven's First Piano Concerto as part of a complete cycle of Beethoven's piano concertos under the baton of Elim Chan. At Michigan, Jonathan also participated in the Contemporary Directions Ensemble, performing works by Pierre Boulez, David Lang, Thomas Ades, and John Adams under the baton of Christopher Lees. He graduated with his master's degree in 2011.