B i o g r a p h y
Stephen Z. Cook is the Director of Music & Organist at First Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, Virginia, his hometown, where plays a magnificent IV/78 pipe organ with a II/14 antiphonal built by JW Walker & Sons of England.
He is an alumnus of Norfolk Christian High School, and holds the Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, the Master of Music degree in organ performance and church music from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he studied with Albert L. Travis, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he studied with Delores Bruch. For his doctoral dissertation he translated into English the encyclopedic, "L'interprétation de la musique française: 1661-1789. Vol. 1" by French musicologist Jean Saint-Arroman.
As a concert organist, Cook has played throughout the United States, and has twice performed at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France, first in 2007 and then again in 2017. In 2018 he expanded his skills set and started accompanying silent movies to include several Buster Keaton short films and Cecil B. DeMille's epic "The King of Kings."
As a professional accompanist, he has performed in festivals to critical acclaim under the batons of Grammy award winners Sir David Willcocks in Bern, Switzerland and Dr. Robert Page in Williamsburg, Virginia, and has accompanied Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green in recital in Newport News, Virginia. And as a church musician, he has served congregations in Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, and Connecticut.
Cook is a long-standing member and Colleague of the American Guild of Organists. A leader among his peers, he has served the guild as a chapter dean, competition adjudicator, workshop presenter, convention registrar, and a contributing author for "The American Organist" magazine with articles on the subject of improvisation.
To visit his channel on YouTube, click here.