Bachelor of Arts - Music, Pfeiffer University
Master of Music - Opera Performance, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Doctor of Musical Arts - Orchestral Conducting, University of North Carolina - Greensboro
Diploma - Advanced Conducting, University of Catania, Sicily
New to the CSRA, Richard Earl Cook has established himself among the area’s most active conductors and teachers. He currently serves as Artistic Director of The Augusta Men’s Chorus, and is Director of Music at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta. He also has been the General Director and Conductor of the Augusta Opera. He comes to Augusta from Winston-Salem, NC, where he was the Resident Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Artistic Director of the North State Chorale for 17 seasons. He continues to serve as Music Director of the NOVUS Chamber Orchestra in Greensboro, NC. He has been assistant conductor for both Piedmont Opera Theatre (Winston-Salem) and the Greensboro Opera Company. He has conducted the Baccau Philharmonic (Romania), the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Winston-Salem Symphony and Chorale, the UNCG Symphony Orchestra, the UNCSA Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras, the Greensboro Philharmonia, and youth orchestras in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Charlotte. Dr. Cook has been on the faculties of Elon University, High Point University, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
In addition to his conducting activities, Dr. Cook has appeared as a tenor soloist in opera and oratorio performances in the United States and Europe, most recently performing with Carolina Baroque. He attracted particular attention as a last-minute replacement in performances of Verdi’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah. He served as chorus master/assistant conductor for Piedmont Opera Theatre for eight seasons, and four seasons with the Greensboro (NC) Opera Company. He has sung leading roles with the UNCSA Opera, and has appeared as tenor soloist for the North Carolina School of the Arts International Music Program, in which he performed both in orchestral concerts and chamber music recitals in France, Germany, and Italy.
As a teacher of singing, Dr. Cook has been a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Several of his students have won competitions, and many are singing professionally. He has been a member of the voice faculties of Elon and High Point Universities, and currently maintains a private studio in addition to teaching at USC Aiken.
A native North Carolinian, Dr. Cook began his musical training with piano studies at an early age, and pursued conducting in high school. While in college, he studied privately with Leo Driehuys of the Charlotte Symphony. He later attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, and was awarded a grant to attend the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena, Italy, where he studied under the legendary Franco Ferrara. He currently lives in Augusta with his wife, Carol, and their son, John.