Michael Cooke

Biography

The multi-instrumentalist Michael Cooke is a composer of jazz and classical music. This two-time Emmy and Louis Armstrong Jazz Award winner plays a variety of instruments: you can hear him on soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, flute, soprano and bass clarinets, bassoon and percussion. A cum laude graduate with a music degree from the University of North Texas, he had many different areas of study; jazz, ethnomusicology, music history, theory and of course composition. In 1991 Michael began his professional orchestral career performing in many north Texas area symphonies. Michael has played in Europe, Mexico, and all over the United States. Cimarron Music Press began published many of Michael’s compositions in 1994. After relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area, he has been exploring new paths in improvised and composed music, mixing a variety of styles and techniques that draw upon the creative energy of a multicultural experience, both in and out of America. In 1999, Michael started a jazz label called Black Hat Records and is currently on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. The San Francisco Beacon describes Michael's music as “flowing out color and tone with a feeling I haven’t heard in quite a while. Michael plays with such dimension and flavor that it sets (his) sound apart from the rest.” Uncompromising, fiery, complex, passionate, and cathartic is how the All Music Guide labeled Michael’s playing on Searching by Cooke Quartet, Statements by Michael Cooke and The Is by CKW Trio. His latest release, An Indefinite Suspension of The Possible, is an unusual mixture of woodwinds, trombone, cello, koto and percussion, creating a distinct synergy in improvised music that has previously been untapped.


INSTRUMENTS:

Soprano, Alto, & Tenor Saxophone; Bassoon, Flute, Bass Clarinet

EDUCATION:

University of North Texas, College of Music (1988-1993)
Bachelor of Arts in Music Composition with minor in Theory, Performance, Musicology, & Jazz
Graduated cum laude from UNT in May 1993
Received scholarships to perform in UNT ensembles

EXPERIENCE:

Professional Orchestra:
· Principal bassoon, San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra
· Contrabassoon, Wichita Falls Symphony, Wichita Falls, Texas
· Third bassoon & contrabassoon, Richardson Symphony, Richardson, Texas
· Bassoon & alto sax, New Philharmonic of Irving, Irving, Texas
· Second bassoon, Northeast Texas Symphony, North Dallas, Texas
· Contrabassoon, East Texas Symphony, Tyler, Texas
· Principal bassoon, Denton Community Orchestra, Denton, Texas
Other Orchestra:
· Principal bassoon, University of Stanford Symphony Orchestra
· Second bassoon, University of North Texas Chamber Orchestra
· Principal bassoon, University of North Texas Opera Orchestra
· Principal bassoon, University of North Texas Chamber Orchestra
· Contrabassoon, University of North Texas Chamber Orchestra
· Second bassoon, University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra
· First bassoon, University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra
· Contrabassoon, University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra
Other Professional Groups:
· CKW Trio, Jazz/Improv ensemble, SF Bay Area, California
· Guide Improv Ensemble, Oakland, California
· Solo performer for Black Hat Records, SF Bay Area, California
· Cooke Quartet (CQ), Jazz ensemble, SF Bay Area, California
· Grinning Idiots, Funk/Rock Band, SF Bay Area, California
· Three-Finger Brown, Rock band, San Francisco, California
· Michael Cooke Quintet, Jazz ensemble, Denton, Texas
· Many assorted Jazz, Blues, and Rock bands
Professional Activities:
· Producer and recording engineer for Black Hat Records, SF Bay Area, California
· Music notation for other composers, Dallas, Texas
· Orchestration for movie scores, Denton, Texas
· Teach private lessons in Bassoon, Saxophone, & Composition, SF Bay Area, California

MAJOR TEACHERS:

Composition
· Cindy McTee, Professor of Composition, University of North Texas
· David Dzubay, Professor of Composition, Indiana University
· Martin Mailman, Professor of Composition, University of North Texas, (deceased 1999)
· Joseph Klein, Professor of Composition, University of North Texas
· Larry Ochs, ROVA Saxophone Quartet
Bassoon
· Peter Grenier, third & contrabassoon, Dallas Symphony
· Sue (Schrier) Bancroft, formerly Professor of Bassoon, University of North Texas
· Dan Dowdakin, third & contrabassoon (retired), Atlanta Symphony
Saxophone
· Tony Carere, Professional saxophonist, Atlanta
Orchestral Performing
· Anshel Brusilow, Musical Director & Conductor of University of North Texas & Richardson Symphonies
Jazz Performing
· Jim Riggs, Jazz Band & Saxophone, University of North Texas
· Dan Haerle, Jazz Theory & Piano, University of North Texas
Ethnomusicology
· Steve Friedson, Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of North Texas

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND HONORS:

· On the Board of Directors of San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra
· Published by Cimarron Music and Productions
· Member of ASCAP
· Golden Key National Honor Society
· Gamma Beta Phi Society
· Graduated cum laude from UNT
· Emmy for NASCAR on Fox 2005
· Emmy for NASCAR on Fox 2004
· Received Subito grant from American Composers Forum
· Received grants from Meet The Composer's MetLife Creative Connections program
· Received a grant from Zellerbach
· Received an ASCAPLUS award
· Received scholarship to perform in UNT ensembles
· Received Louis Armstrong Jazz award in 1988
· Toured Mexico and Spain; performed in the '92 Expo

SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY:

· an indefinite suspension of the possible, Black Hat Records 2006
· The Is, Black Hat Records 2004
· Statements, Black Hat Records 2002
· Searching, Black Hat Records 1999
· Punk, Fool, Romantic, Three-Finger Brown 1995
· A Matter of Honor (Movie), 1994
· A Night at the Meyerson, University of North Texas 1993
· Bravo North Texas, University of North Texas 1993