Donald Cook has been active for almost 60 years as a music educator, university administrator, pianist, church musician, composer/arranger and choral director.
He was founding director of the School of Music at Memorial University of Newfoundland and taught there for over 25 years. In 1992, Dr. Cook moved to London, Ontario, to become principal of The Western Ontario Conservatory of Music.
Under his leadership, the Conservatory grew to become a national organization under the new name of Conservatory Canada. Dr. Cook has had a compelling interest in the musical training of young people. As Principal, one of his first acts was to establish and to nurture the growth of a substantial scholarship fund that continues to provide financial support to young musicians from coast to coast. Many of Dr. Cook’s choral works are popular with school choirs, and several of his solo pieces have found their way into Conservatory Canada’s New Millennium Series of repertoire books for piano and voice. He is also the author of Conservatory Canada’s Theory for Students books (Theory 1-4).
Dr. Cook has served as board member on numerous national organizations, including the Canadian Music Educators’ Association and the Canadian University Music Society. He has adjudicated and conducted clinics in choral music and piano in all ten provinces, and also has been a juror for the Ontario Arts Council and for the Juno Awards.
His contribution to music in Canada has been recognized both provincially and nationally. In 1992, Memorial University named its new recital hall in his honour, and the same year he was installed as a Member of the Order of Canada by the Governor General. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Memorial University. He is also an honorary life member of both the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association, and the Music Council of the Newfoundland Teachers’ Association.
Dr. Cook retired from Conservatory Canada in 2000, though he remains active as a church organist and a composer.