PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (May 13, 2021) – Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras (TRYPO) has announced the selection of Mr. Pierce Cook as the next conductor of Symphonette. Cook will take the helm this fall to start the 2021-22 Season, while outgoing Symphonette Conductor Mr. Andrew Wickesberg will remain through the end of the current season.
"The search for a new conductor for Symphonette started over a year ago and was paused by the onset of the pandemic," says TRYPO Executive Director Ms. Lindsey Nova. "We are so grateful that Mr. Wickesberg gave us a whole extra season and the time to get in-person rehearsals running again."
Wickesberg stated, "Pierce brings great energy, enthusiasm, and a deep connection to the music education community in the Pittsburgh region. I look forward to watching Symphonette grow under his guidance."
"Andrew has been a passionate advocate for Symphonette and TRYPO," shared TRYPO Music Director Mr. Brian Worsdale. The conductors have worked together on the artistic team since Worsdale was appointed music director in 2018.
"I have long admired the work of TRYPO and particularly the work of Andrew Wickesberg and Symphonette," says Cook. "I relish the opportunity to collaborate with such a talented, professional, forward-thinking, devoted team and to work for so many wonderful young musicians in the Pittsburgh area."
Cook, a conductor, educator, and instrumentalist, is a native of Arlington, Virginia, and moved to Pittsburgh in 2000 to attend Duquesne University. Cook now resides in Green Tree and is the director of orchestras at Mellon Middle School in Mt. Lebanon, where he hosted the District 1 Jr. High Honors Orchestra in 2018. Additionally, Cook has provided private lessons out of his home studio since 2005 and served as the Bass Coach for Pittsburgh Youth Philharmonic Orchestra for a decade.
"Andrew Wickesberg's work with Symphonette has proven that excellence and fun are not mutually exclusive but are, in fact, very symbiotic," Cook stated. "I look forward to keeping with that tradition as TRYPO moves into the future - making Symphonette something kids are excited to get up for on Saturdays and something the community can be proud of."
Cook brings with him experience building and sustaining youth programs, having planted the seeds for the Mt. Lebanon High School MC-AT (Music Cross-Aged Tutoring), a club for students across the district who participate by giving or receiving weekly music lessons. In addition to the school's already existing Chamber Orchestra, Cook added a Pops Orchestra and a program for student-formed ensembles to meet weekly to rehearse curated music and perform throughout the year called Mellon Small Groups.
"Symphonette is such a special ensemble where young string musicians can explore their love for music and find other students who love music too." Nova continued, "I'm excited for the future of Symphonette in Mr. Cook's capable hands!"
Brian Worsdale says, "I am happy to welcome Pierce Cook to the artistic team and to see him bring his brand of education and unique engagement to this ensemble. It has been exciting to brainstorm about plans for Symphonette, like ways to incorporate community service as well as programming music composed by a diverse range of composers. Thank you to the selection committee for helping to select such a worthy choice among a list of gifted and talented candidates."
Cook will be formally introduced to board members, donors, musicians, and parents later this year. His first official performance as Symphonette Conductor is slated to be TRYPO's 2021-22 annual winter concert.
Musicians ages 12-18 may still submit video auditions to join TRYPO for the 2021-21 Season. Visit trypo.org/new-member-auditions to learn more.
In case you missed it, click here to read the January 29, 2020 article announcing Andrew Wickesberg's departure.
For more information, visit trypo.org or contact Manager of Institutional Advancement, Rachel Howard, at 412.391.1984 / Rachel@trypo.org.
To download Pierce Cook's headshot shown above, click here.
About TRYPO: Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras was founded in 1974 to create a dynamic, inclusive community where young people are inspired to pursue a lifelong passion for music. TRYPO has served more than 200 students during the 2020-2021 Season through enrollment in numerous programs, including YPO (a full symphonic orchestra), Wind Symphony (an ensemble of woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments), Percussion Ensemble (an ensemble of just percussion instruments), Symphonette (a string ensemble), the Youth Chamber Connection (YC² coordinates students into small ensembles such as quartets and quintets), TRYPOsphere (our new online music conservatory) and summer programs.
About Pierce Cook: Pierce is the proud director of orchestras at Mellon Middle School in Mt. Lebanon, designated in 2019 as a Don Eichhorn Pennsylvania School to Watch.
In 2016 Pierce began recruiting high school orchestra students to tutor at Mellon, which planted the seeds for the Mt. Lebanon High School MC-AT club (Music Cross-Aged Tutoring), for which he serves as the sponsor and coordinator. Currently, over 50 students across the district participate by either giving or receiving weekly lessons.
That same year, Pierce added to Mellon's already strong after-school Chamber Orchestra, a Pops Orchestra dedicated to performing music from stage, screen, and stream, and Mellon Small Groups, which are student-formed ensembles that meet weekly to rehearse curated music and perform throughout the year.
Over the past six years, Mellon's orchestras have performed annually throughout the region at local hospitals, assisted living residences, and an annual holiday performance at South Hills Village Mall. This spirit of making music to share music is one that Pierce is excited to bring to Symphonette.
Additionally, as an educator, Pierce has provided private lessons out of his home studio since 2005 and served as the Bass Coach for Pittsburgh Youth Philharmonic Orchestra for a decade. In 2018 he hosted the District 1 Jr. High Honors Orchestra in Mt. Lebanon.
Pierce has been blessed with many opportunities to make music for the Pittsburgh community. His group, South City Jazz, has been regularly performing for over 15 years, and he was a founding member of the Three Rivers String Quartet, for whom he served as a cellist. An active member of the Musicians Union Local 60-471, Pierce has had the opportunity to play bass for many musicals across the region, including for Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, the Pittsburgh Playhouse, and Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. Pierce is also the newest member of Gary Racan and the Studio E Band, known for their national Warriors Rock concerts and TV Productions.
A native of Arlington, Virginia, Pierce moved to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University and resides in Green Tree.