Wednesday 12 October 2022, 7.30pm
St Mary's Creative Space, Chester

Piano Duets, with Martin Cook and John Bowen playing works by Beethoven, Dvorak, Brahms and Grieg

Martin Cook studied piano and piano accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music with Dennis Murdoch, Colin Horsley and Clifton Helliwell.  After graduating he emigrated to Canada where he worked, for four years as a school music specialist in Newfoundland but continued to study piano with Rucky van Mill and also at Boston University with Bela Bosormenyi-Nagy.  It was in his role as a school music specialist that he was first noticed as a choral conductor and as a result went on to study choral conducting at Boston University.  After returning to the UK he developed his career in teaching, his last post being as Director of Music at the Blue Coat School in Liverpool, but he maintained an active musical career beyond the classroom, both as a pianist and a conductor. His high school choirs toured regularly throughout Europe, performing in Venice, in San Marco, Vienna, St Stephen’s and Votivkirke, Maastricht in the Basilica, Prague in St Nicholas’, and in the cathedrals of St Sebastian and Santander in Cantabria. For ten years he conducted the Chester Music Society Junior Choir and under his direction they twice reached the semi-finals in “The Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year Competition,” and also received awards at the Montreux International Choral Festival and The Riva del Garda International Choral Festival. In 2009 Martin was offered an Assistantship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to study for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting. While there he assisted in the delivery of music theory courses, conducted the “All Collegiate Choir” and taught conducting to undergraduates. His dissertation was entitled "A Survey of The Sacred Choral and Orchestral works of Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869-1941)". After graduation he worked as a music minister at Christ Episcopal Church, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa before returning to the UK in November 2013 and is now working as a freelance choral conductor, pianist and organist.  He formed a piano duo partnership with John Bowen in 2021 for concert to raise money for the Ukrainian appeal.

John Bowen gained BA Combined Honours in  Music and Latin at Birmingham University where he studied piano with John Gough, organ and harpsichord with David Ponsford and composition with Ivor Keys and John Joubert. Following teacher training in Cardiff, John taught in schools as head of music in Wales, Lancashire, Shropshire and Liverpool where by coincidence he preceded Martin Cook as Director of Music at the Bluecoat School. Throughout his teaching career he maintained an interest in choral music as well as music for the stage, directing productions and providing musical direction for productions including Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Les Misérables and Oliver.
Recently he moved from the classroom into piano, organ and voice tuition as well as giving recitals on piano and organ and providing accompaniment for instrumental and vocal examinations. He is Director of Music for Christ Church, Shrewsbury and has conducted the Halcyon Singers, Radnorshire, the Marches Choir, Bishops Castle and, since September 2015, the Yeoman Singers, Shrewsbury. Since November 2015 John has accompanied Shrewsbury Choral under the baton of Martin Cook. His compositions include “Requiem - in an age of anxiety”, written during the Covid Lockdown which receives its debut performance with Shrewsbury Choral on 12th November.
Tickets £5