Phillip Cooke was born in Penrith, Cumbria in 1980, spending the first 18 years of his life in the Lake District. He studied composition in Durham and Manchester Universities and for a PhD with Anthony Powers at Cardiff University. He has had works played across the country by many of the country’s top choirs and ensembles. He was artistic director of the London Contemporary Music Group (LCMG) from 2004-10, and wrote five works for them.
Recent works were featured in the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, Lake District Summer Music Festival (LDSM), Tête à Tête Opera Festival, Musica Sacrae (Poland), Sound Festival (Aberdeen) and the John Armitage Memorial (JAM) concerts. Works were performed in most of the leading cathedrals and churches in the UK. The US premiere of his first set of Preces and Responses was given in July 2012 and has been performed by several choirs across the country. As of 2011 his choral works will be published by Novello, Schott and Cadenza. In 2012 he was a winner of the ‘Musica Sacra International Composers Competition 2012’ which led to performances in Poland and Lithuania and in 2016 he won the Gesualdo Six Composition Prize for his motet Judas Mercartor Pessimus. His second set of Preces and Responses (2012) was premiered on BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong as was his organ piece Exsultet (2014). His large-scale choral/orchestral work Noah’s Fire was premiered in Chester Cathedral in November 2015. A CD of his choral works performed by the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge and Onyx Brass was released to great acclaim on Regent Records in April 2014, and the CD of The Eternal Ecstasy (again performed by Selwyn) including his motet of the same name reached the classical charts top 10 in August 2015. In 2017, his work The World on Fire featured on a number one in the classical charts performed by the Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford.
He is strongly influenced by his native Lake District and by history. His main musical influences are found in continuing and reconciling a pastoral British tradition; he has written articles on the Liturgical music of James MacMillan and the canticles of Herbert Howells. He has recently co-edited a book of essays on Howells which was published by Boydell and Brewer in October 2013. He is married with two children, lives in Aberdeenshire and supports Everton. From 2007 – 08 he was a Career Development Fellow at the Faculty of Music, Oxford University and a Junior Research Fellow (2007 – 10) at The Queen’s College, Oxford University. He was head of composition at Eton College from 2011-12. As of January 2013, he was appointed a Lecturer in Composition at Aberdeen University.
There is a gallery of pictures of Phillip here.
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