The American tenor, Richard Earl Cook, began his musical training with piano studies at an early age. He pursued conducting while in high school. During his college years, he studied privately with Leo Driehuys of the Charlotte Symphony. He later studied conducting at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and was awarded a grant to attend the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena, Italy, where he studied under the legendary Franco Ferrara. Most recently, he attended the International Conducting Institute in Catania, Sicily. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Pfeiffer University, a Master of Music from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Richard Earl Cook has appeared as a tenor soloist in opera and oratorio performances in the USA and Europe.
He is among the most active conductors in North Carolina. He has been the assistant conductor for both Piedmont Opera Theater in Winston-Salem, and the Greensboro Opera Company. He has conducted the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus, the Winston-Salem/Piedmont Triad Symphony, the Winston-Salem Youth Symphony, the Greensboro Youth Symphony, and the Charlotte Youth Symphony.
Richard Earl Cook has taught music theory and conducting the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has served on the faculties of Elon University, High Point University, and the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he conducted the NCSA Cantata Singers and worked with the Summer Session. In addition to directing the North State Chorale, he is Director of Church Music at Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem. He is an advocate of contemporary music, and has conducted works by such composers as Stacy Garrop and Bernard Rands.