Kim Cook, Penn State professor of music in cello, is the solo cellist on a recently released MSR Classics CD recording, featuring Cook performing concertos by Camille Saint-Saëns and Édouard Lalo and the Elegy by Gabriel Fauré with the Philharmonica Bulgarica. Valeri Vatchev and Grigor Palikarov conducted the orchestra for the recording in Sofia, Bulgaria.
James Forrest, critic from Fanfare, the leading publication reviewing classical music recordings, deemed the recording to be “world class.” “Cook and her Bulgarian colleagues fully match any recording of the [Lalo] work I know. This newest Lalo has now become my favorite,” said Forrest. Critic Phil Muse from Audio Society of Atlanta concurred. “She cultivates one of the most beautiful singing tones I have ever heard coaxed from a cello.”
Fanfare featured the recording on the cover of the March issue with an interview of Cook and reviews of two previous recordings. The first recording includes the Cello Concerto in B minor Concerto by Antonin Dvorak, Kol Nidrei by Max Bruch and a premiere recording of the Concerto by Zdenek Pololanik from 2003, and the second includes the Solo Sonatas by Kodaly, Crumb and Hindemith, from 1998. Of the Solo Sonata by Kodaly, Jerry Dubins concluded, “Kim Cook’s performance of the piece may just be the best I’ve heard yet.” Huntley Dent, of Fanfare, said, “I think you’ll find her reading of the Kodály riveting.”
Cook has made solo recordings of eight concertos, two solo concert pieces with orchestra, three solo unaccompanied sonatas and two piano trios culminating in six CD publications by MSR Classics, Bayer Recordings, Slovak Treasures and Accademia dell’Arte. The solo concertos are recorded with accompanying orchestras in Russia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
A graduate of Yale and the University of Illinois, Cook was principal cellist of the São Paulo Symphony and taught at New Mexico State prior to her appointment at Penn State. Cook has performed to critical acclaim as a soloist in 28 countries and has toured as Artistic Ambassador for the U.S. State Department. At her Carnegie Hall debut, critics admired her “ravishing colors and textures” (New York Concert Review). In Europe, she was hailed as “the superb American cellist” (Die Rheinpfalz, Frankfurt). In 2008–09, Cook was named the inaugural Penn State Laureate. Recent performances include recitals in New York, Baltimore and the University of Cambridge, and concerto performances with the Split Virtuosi Orchestra in Croatia, the Volgograd Symphony in Russia and the Ukrainian State Orchestra in Kiev.
The CD recordings are available at MSR Classics and Amazon.