R. Kent Cook

Professor of Music

B.M. Baylor University, M.M., D.M. Indiana University

Dr. R. Kent Cook is Professor of Piano and Head of the Keyboard Department at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois.  He keeps an active schedule as soloist and chamber musician, having performed in venues throughout the United States and abroad.  Regionally, he has appeared in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, while in Europe, he has performed in Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany and Italy.

R. Kent Cook hails from Odessa, Texas where he began to play the piano at age six.  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 Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Piano Performance.  He has worked with distinguished pianists Leonard Hokanson, Eteri Andjaparidze, Michel Block, James Tocco, and Karen Shaw, and in 1992-93, he studied with Herbert Seidel as a Fulbright Scholar at the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt, Germany.

Before joining the piano faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University in 1999, Dr. 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 he 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 label.  Entitled Nachtstück, it is a recording of twelve Nocturnes by seven different composers including Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann.  Soon to be released are two recordings, one featuring Debussy’s Préludes for Piano and trio recording with longtime collaborators oboist Roger Roe and violist Michael Isaac Strauss.