Photo courtesy of Seth Jacobsen
Musical artist and cello professor in the University of Rhode Island’s music department Theodore Mook performed at the Star Island Chamber Music Conference and the Kingston Chamber Music Festival.
The Star Island Chamber Music Festival was held in New Hampshire from Sept. 7-9. The weekend held a repertoire of musicians and musical genres from classical to contemporary. According to Mook, himself and the other musicians performed three concerts and held a lecture in the 200-year-old church on Star Island which has no electricity and adds to the eccentric mix of people who sign up and come from all over the United States.
Mook said that including himself, there were seven other local musicians who played at the music festival, including Devon Russo, an alumnus of URI. “It’s a mixture of young and old musicians- a standard repertoire,” Mook said about the festival. “It’s a very unique experience.”
Prior to this year, Mook was one of the artistic directors for the Star Island Chamber Music Festival but stepped down to focus on family.
Earlier this summer, from July 25 to Aug. 5, Mook also performed at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Mook described the Kingston Chamber of Music Festival to be very community building, showcasing many talented musicians who live in the area to locals. Along with local musicians, Mook also was reunited with some of his old friends from his time living in New York City who were invited to perform.
“It was very special and nice to be included,” Mook said. “Performing in it was a thrill!”
After living in New York City for over 30 years, Mook moved to rural Rhode Island in 2009 and began teaching the cello to University students a few years later.
“It’s a mixture of sophisticated and pioneering artists,” Mook said about the population of musicians around him. “URI is a microcosm of that, and I hope that in this period we can get together and celebrate the diversity that we have and pioneering that is going on- I hope we can pull it off.”
Mook also taught the cello at Bishop Hendricken High School, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. “It’s great,” Mook exclaimed about his time teaching here at URI. “We get to do chamber music and I love my colleagues here – it’s fantastic.”
Originally he started out playing the rock’n’roll guitar. Mook said that he was not initially drawn to the cello. However, as he grew older throughout middle and high school he began expanding his musical horizons and began getting interested in classical music, switching to the jazz guitar. He then picked up the cello which he has stuck with ever since.
The School of Music at Boston University is where he received his Bachelor of Music in cello performance. From there his career has expanded and although he emphasized that he had not played everywhere in the world, he is very well traveled and had some very unique experiences in his travels. Although he travels less these days, Mook is still very much enjoying his time playing and teaching the cello to other enthusiasts.