Kim Cook does it again! The Nebraska native, Distinguished Professor of Cello at Pennsylvania State University shows us why each of her new releases on MSR Classics is a keenly anticipated event. With the assistance of two outstanding orchestras from Russia and the Czech Republic, she puts across four of the greatest beauties from the repertoire for cello and orchestra by Elgar, Strauss, Dvořák, and Schumann. In these works the inner beauty of her instrument shines forth irresistibly.
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club
KBAQ Radio, September 2007, CD of the Week, Phoenix, Arizona, Reviewer: Sterling Beeaff
“Kim Cook is a fine player, and from what I have learned in the past week or so, a great pedagogue at her studio at Penn State. We do deserve to hear her out here and everywhere. Her recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto will be heard on KBAQ from now on, but to get a chance to know her facile playing it would be best through hearing her play Zoltan Kodaly’s Sonata for cello. All three pieces are beautifully played, but the Kodaly really is a remarkable piece, and Kim Cook has, I think, made a definitive recording of it. Silence is as much a part of music as the notes are, and Ms. Cook leads us to those silences, those places to take a breath, amid some real pyro-technics in playing, in the melancholy phrases, that as you listen, you realize, this really does demand something of the player…It really is a tremendous piece and she plays it beautifully.”
“Cook and Palikarov have achieved a considerable, world-class, recorded performance of the Lalo. I spent a lot of time, some two decades ago, reviewing the studio recordings of Harrell (with Chailly) and Ma (with Maazel). My major comparison at that time was Starker (with Skrowaczewski). My firm preference for these past two decades has been with Harrell (a cellist not, otherwise, a favorite of mine). To my ear, Cook and her Bulgarian colleagues fully match any recording of the work I know. James Forrest Fanfare
Listen: Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No.1 - I. Allegro non troppo
“She, conductor Edward Serov and the Volgograd Symphony offer a thoughtful, splendidly executed performance of the Shostakovich. Cook and Serov find unsuspected depth in the work, and link it more closely to the composer's intense 1st Violin Concerto. The recorded sound is ideal and the tone and timbre of the Russian Orchestra similarly sound just right in this music. Speaking of sound, that which she draws from her instrument could not be more beautiful. Her tone is lovely throughout and most moving in the cadenza.” JF Fanfare
"the works are expertly performed by the fine cello-piano duo of Kim Cook and Christopher Guzman."
"Cellist Cook and pianist Guzman bring these works to life in spectacular fashion, evincing musicianship of the highest order. I couldn’t ask for better performances of these works, and I would guess that the composer couldn’t either. The sound is bold and beautiful in the recording, giving both instruments presence and personality. Highly recommended all around." David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare
Multi-award-winning composer Paul Reale has a distinctly American voice, enriched and given touches of familiarity through references to folk idiom and musical ancestors such as Bartok and Kodaly. This program brings together Reale's works for cello and piano. His earliest, Séance, is a haunting combination of modernist sounds and Baroque melodies. The operatic Cello Sonata No. 1 daringly uses What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor as the backbone of its finale, and the recent Chopin s Ghost explores the Romantic composer s long, weaving lines and evokes his poetic spirit. This is the world premiere recording of the aforementioned work.
“Cook’s tone has a fullness, richness, and presence to it that really makes you sit up and take notice. Her bow strokes on f and sfz entrances have that firmness of contact with the string yet cleanness of attack that I so admire in string playing; and her technique, even in those nasty double-stop octave passages, is flawless. But most of all, her reading of the concerto is radiant and ecstatic, and she seems to inspire conductor Gerardo Edelstein and the musicians of the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic to perform as one of the world’s topflight orchestras. I can’t say whether this is the best Dvořák Cello Concerto ever committed to disc because I probably haven’t heard more than 20 or 25 of the 150 out there; but I will say that, of those I have heard, I would easily choose Kim Cook’s if I could only pick one to keep.” Jerry Dubins Fanfare
Live performances of Haydn Concerto: reviews
Review: Journal, SLOBODNA DALMACIJA, Split, Croatia, May 28, 2014
SPLITSKI VIRTUOZI IN THE NATIONAL THEATRE IN SPLIT...THE CROWN JEWEL OF STRING PLAYERS IN SPLIT by Marijo Krnic
Haydn C Major Concerto
“The musicianship of prominent American cellist and pedagogue Kim Cook was truly exemplary (Photo caption) soloist, Kim Cook, renowned American cellist and pedagogue… performed this technically and interpretively demanding solo piece with amazing ease and a regal, well balanced, sumptuous sound. Her musicianship was truly exemplary”
Reviews from live performances:
Recital in Nanjing, China
“dazzling...triumphant...the performance captured our hearts.”
Daily Xinhua (Nanjing)
“the performance awakened our senses” Nanjing Daily Journal
Carnegie Hall Recital
“upbeat program, excellently played...violin and cello solos sang
with sweetness and light” New York Concert Review