Ben Cook

Position
Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments
Faculty Bio E-Mail

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Ben Cook is a pianist whose performing career encompasses numerous different musical arenas. As a regular pianist in the Boston Pops Orchestra, he has performed at Symphony Hall, the Tanglewood Music Festival, and on U.S. tours under the direction of maestros Keith Lockhart and John Williams. His roles in the ensemble include orchestral pianist, rhythm section player, and accompanist.

Cook also works extensively as a jazz pianist in the New England area as an accompanist and sideman. He appeared on several records by multi-instrumentalist Miles Donahue, four albums with the jazz/world music ensemble Crosscurrent, and is a veteran of countless Broadway tour pit orchestras. Cook is a graduate of University of North Texas, where he studied with Dan Haerle and Mary Nan Mailman.

Career Highlights
  • Hundreds of performances with Boston Pops Orchestra and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the baton of maestros Keith Lockhart and John Williams, including several national tours and national television broadcasts, such as the annual July 4th celebration
  • Backed guest artists with the Boston Pops Orchestra such as Kristin Chenoweth, Melissa Etheridge, Rhiannon Giddens, Andy Grammer, and Kenny Loggins, among many others
  • Featured in concert at Orpheum Theater in Boston, soloing with the band Evanescence on Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"
  • Numerous performances with legendary jazz vocalists Rebecca Parris, Donna Byrne, and Clay Osborne, among many others
  • Hundreds of performances as a pit orchestra musician for national touring productions of Broadway musicals including Wicked, Mamma Mia, Cats, White Christmas, West Side Story, and others
  • Recordings on four volumes of Miles Donahue's Standards albums alongside pianists Fred Hirsch, Bruce Barth, Joey Calderazzo, and others
  • Recorded four albums as co-leader, composer, arranger, and pianist/keyboardist for the jazz/world music ensemble Crosscurrent
Education
  • B.M., University of North Texas, performance in jazz studies
In Their Own Words

"I think it's important for a teacher not only to follow a student's natural passions but also to expose them to aspects of music they may never have realized that they could love or even need. The best teachers I had were the ones who weren't afraid to challenge me in areas I might have neglected if left on my own. I want students to look back on lessons with me as crucial in honing the tools they use every day in their playing, improvising, composing, and expressing themselves."

"I've run the gauntlet of nearly every type of gig imaginable in my career. Because I had teachers that made sure I mastered every aspect of music to the best of my ability, I've been able to insert myself into almost any professional situation comfortably. Even though I set out to be strictly a jazz player, I've found myself equipped for all kinds of settings in which I never dreamed I'd find myself (i.e., sitting in—and sometimes in front of—one of the world's great symphony orchestras on a regular basis). I want students in my studio to know that they can look beyond the musical road they see at the moment and dream big if they prepare themselves for anything."

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