Christopher M. Cock, Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Valparaiso University, holds the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Lutheran Music and is Director of the Bach Institute.

Through his activities as a choral music educator and as a distinguished solo artist, Dr. Cock has forged a unique career path, combining the roles of conductor and performer. He frequently brings his focus on outstanding repertoire, vocal technique and polished musicality to high school ensembles throughout the country. For six years, he served as director of choirs for Lutheran Summer Music, the national Lutheran high school music camp. In 2006, he led the International Choral Invitational in Hong Kong and was conductor of the Spivey Hall High School Honor Choir, a festival begun by Robert Shaw. He has also conducted All-State Choirs in Minnesota, Georgia and Ohio and the Collegiate Honor Choir in Pennsylvania. He has also appeared at Carnegie Hall as guest conductor of the New England Symphonic Ensemble – he has now made appearances as both conductor and soloist at this legendary venue.

At Valparaiso, Dr. Cock founded the Bach Institute in 2004. The Institute performs the major works of Bach triennially and in the years since its formation has devoted scholarship and performances to studying Bach’s professional years prior to his appointment in Leipzig (1723). His experience leading the works of J.S. Bach includes many performances of the Christmas Oratorio, the Mass in B minor and both passions — on several occasions he has led passions as conductor/evangelist, including the St. John Passion with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra in the Castle Church, Wittenberg, Germany. These performances marked the beginning of a successful partnership with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra that has continued for the past decade.

Dr. Cock has established important professional relationships with the Thomanerchor, the Bach Archive, Leipzig and the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Through his leadership, Valparaiso University has established a strong relationship with the St. Thomas Church – a relationship now formalized with an agreement of future collaboration, the only such agreement with an American university. In October 2017, he lead the Valparaiso University Chorale as the only international choir to be invited to the 500th anniversary celebration of the Reformation in Wittenberg, Germany, including appearances on October 31, 2017 at the St. Thomas Church and the Castle Church. In recognition of his work creating and sustaining these musical relationships in Germany, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany awarded him (in 2017) the Cross of the Order of Merit for “extraordinary service” rendered to German-American relations in the field of music.

As a solo artist, Dr. Cock’s extensive range and communicative performances have established him as a premier lyric tenor. Appearances as a Bach Evangelist have taken him to concert venues throughout the United States. He appeared as Evangelist in the St. Matthew Passion with The Los Angeles Philharmonic. The LA Times praised his performance for its “illuminating freshness.” For numerous seasons, he appeared as a guest artist with the Oregon Bach Festival, led by German conductor, Helmuth Rilling. Other organizations with whom he has sung include the Florida Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Miami Bach Society, the American Sinfonietta, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Seattle Chamber Singers (with Orchestra Seattle) and the Northwest Sinfonietta. He has frequently appeared as a soloist with Maestro Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers. His performances with the Festival Singers can be heard on recordings released by Telarc International. He has sung the role of the Evangelist in both Bach Passions with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and is tenor soloist on their recording of American hymns.

Dr. Cock studied at the University of Southern California and completed his undergraduate study at Pacific Lutheran University. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona (Tucson), where he was a student of Maurice Skones.

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