American cellist Theodore Mook is a versatile performer, comfortable in avante-garde, classical, historical, and commercial styles. He has been a particularly active proponent of new music since 1980. After almost 30 years in New York City, he now lives in a converted 19th Century Church in rural Rhode Island, where he teaches and hosts a concert series, SwitchArts. He has taught at the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School.
Mr. Mook has played new music at the Library of Congress, the American Academy in Rome, the venerable Monday Evening Concerts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is a veteran performer at the Bang on a Can Festival, and has appeared in MusikProtokoll im Steirischen Herbst in Graz, Austria, the International Festival Musique Actuelle in Canada, the New England Bach Festival in Marlboro, Vermont, the Bethlehem Music Festival, the USArts Festival in Berlin, the Synthesis International Festival for Contemporary Music in Skopje, Macedonia, the Tura New Music Festival in Australia, and the Bern Biennale. His concert appearances span the globe: Perth, Brisbane, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Porto, Brussels, Oldenburg, and Bremen. His extensive discography spans over 100 works, including new releases on New World records performing the music of Annea Lockwood, Ezra Sims and Lois V Vierk.
Mr. Mook is an enthusiastic performer on period instruments as well, and performed as a continuo cellist with The Providence Baroque Chamber Orchestra, New York's Musica Sacra, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, The Fairfield Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Long Island Early Music and for many years with the legendary Blanche Moyse at the Marlboro Festival.
Since the mid-1990s, Mr. Mook has developed a parallel career in computer technology, where he has worked in IT & programming for corporate clients, designed fonts for microtonal compositions, developed websites and worked as a music copyist and arranger.
Theodore (Ted) Mook has been an active proponent of new music, particularly microtonal music since 1980. After graduating from the Boston University School of Music, he became a member of Dinosaur Annex (Boston) and performed with several other ensembles in the Boston area. He maintained his interest in contemporary music after moving to New York in 1982, when he began to perform with Speculum Musicae, the New York New Music Ensemble, Continuum and many other groups.
As a member of Newband he performed on the original instruments of Harry Partch in critically acclaimed concerts and theatrical productions in the US and in Europe, reconstructing the original Adapted Viola parts for cello and tenor violin. He performed on two Newband discs, and subsequently produced and performed on the world's first complete recording of Harry Partch's 17 Lyrics of Li Po for Intoning Voice and tenor violin for the Tzadik label. He still performs Partch's music frequently, using a tenor violin built by Carleen Hutchins and a curved bow built by Michael Bach.
He has been closely associated with the American composer Ezra Sims, after participating in the premiere performance and recording of Sims' Sextet, and remains an active champion of his music. Mook commissioned the composer Mathew Rosenblum's Circadian Rhythms, based on a hybrid 17 note scale, and continued his relationship with the composer with performances and a recording of Nu Kuan Tzu, Rosenblum's landmark work based on Chinese texts. Mr. Mook also appears on New World Records' recording of Daniel Rothman's Cezanne's Doubt, a radical mutli-media piece using pitches collected from the upper partials of the harmonic series.
Mr. Mook has played new music at the Library of Congress, the American Academy in Rome, the venerable Monday Evening Concerts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Wexner Center at Ohio State, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Kitchen, The Knitting Factory, the Herbst Theater in San Francisco and the Ijsbreker in Amsterdam. He is a veteran performer at the Bang on a Can Festival, and has appeared at MusikProtokoll im Steirischen Herbst in Graz, Austria, the International Festival Musique Actuelle in Canada, the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Tura New Music Festival in Australia, the USArts Festival in Berlin, the Synthesis International Festival for Contemporary Music in Skopje, Macedonia, Sonic Circuits, and the Bern Biennale.
He has a large discography, including Lois V.Vierk's Simoom for eight multi-tracked cellos (all named Ted), several works of Keith Jarrett and and new work by the iconoclastic sound artist Annea Lockwood. Most recently he recorded two works for cello on the New World label by Lois V Vierk. His label credits include ECM, Arabesque, Opus One, CRI, Columbia Masterworks, Warner-Atlantic, New World, Mode, Ess.A.Y., Avant, Cambridge, New World, Music and Arts, Experimental Intermedia, Ear Rational, and Northeastern Records.
He has premiered works by some of today's most prestigious composers, among them Chen Yi, John Zorn, Daniel Rothman, Eric Moe, Lee Hyla, Ezra Sims, David Lang, and Ralph Shapey, and gave the World Premiere of one of Roger Session's last works, the Duo for Violin and Cello.
Theodore Mook survived for more than 20 years as a free-lance cellist in New York, Boston and Providence. He has performed concerts, recorded jingles, movie soundtracks, CDs, vinyl albums, DVDs, and appeared on radio, television and even streamed internet content in Europe and the US.
In the commercial realm, he has played in virtually every Broadway show that has a cello, from Phantom to Grey Gardens, opened (and closed) Jekyll and Hyde, Taboo (with the notorious Boy George), Bombay Dreams and Little Women, and backed up performers as diverse as Paul Anka, Juliet Greco, Renee Fleming and JZ.
As an orchestral musician he has performed with the RHode Island Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Lukes, the American Composer's Orchestra and many others, under the batons of Bramwell Tovey, James DePriest, James Levine, Christoph Eschenbach, Dennis Russell Davies, Sir Charles Mackerras and Donald Runnicles, to name a few.
He has served on several Boards for non-profit corporations, negotiated Broadway and orchestra contracts, been a member of advisory committees, produced several commercial recordings, and been the recipient of several prestigious grants and awards.
As a teacher, he has given workshops, clinics, lecture/demonstrations, composer readings and master classes at music schools, colleges and universities across the US and in Europe. He has maintained a private studio for teaching cello, chamber music and solfege almost continuously for the past 30 years.
Black-and-white photos (front & back): The Jacques Franćais Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Box 31.