Cooke, Thomas Simpson


A vocalist and composer, who was born in Dublin, and studied music under his father, Bartlett Cooke, an oboe-player in a London theatre, and also under Giordani. In 1803 he was conductor of a theatre in Dublin, and made his debut as a singer in Storace's Siege of Belgrade. When he was only seven years of age he is said to have performed in public a violin concerto. In 1813 he was appointed conductor and vocalist at Drury Lane, and became a member of the Royal Academy of Music and of the Philharmonic Society. The year before that, while leading an orchestra in Dublin, he also kept a music shop. He was familiarly known as Tom Cooke. He was the director of the Drury Lane and Covent Garden Theatres and from 1828 to 1830 one of the musical managers of Vauxhall Gardens, and the principal tenor singer at Drury Lane for nearly twenty years. He also taught a limited number of pupils, among whom was Sims Reeves. Cooke was most successful as a glee composer, although his works for the stage are full of merit. He won several prizes from the Catch and Glee clubs. Among his works are numerous farces; adaptations of several foreign operas; many glees; duets; solfeggi; exercises; and the music to about fifteen plays. He died in London.