The American harpsichordist, Martha Cook, studied piano with Leo Miller and oboe with George Hussey, then attended the New England Conservatory of Music as a full-scholarship student. There she was introduced to the harpsichord by John Gibbons and Louis Bagger, and learned the rudiments of harpsichord construction in the Cambridge, Massachusetts. workshop of William Dowd. Three years of residence in the UK brought her into contact with Thurston Dart, Colin Tilney, Geraint Jones (at the Royal Academy of Music), Cécile Dolmetsch, and John Barnes. After lessons with Alan Curtis and master-classes in California with Gustav Leonhardt, she was invited to join the latter's harpsichord class at the Sweelinck-Conservatorium in 1976-1977, then returned to the USA to complete an Master of Arts degree in Musicology at the University of California, Berkeley (1979-1980), while maintaining her activity as a performer.
A longtime resident of France, Martha Cook has performed as continuist with Marc Minkowski, Philippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs, Jaap Schröder and Hans Graf, and has participated in productions at the Opéra de Lyon, Opéra de Paris (Bastille), Fondation Royaumont, and the festivals of Aix-en-Provence, Innsbrück, and Utrecht. She was the assistant of Rachel Yakar and René Jacobs at the Studio Opéra of the CMB (Versailles).
Holder of the Certificat d'aptitude en Musique Ancienne, Martha Cook was founding director of the early music department of the Conservatoire national de région (CNR) in Metz (1990-1994) and gave the impetus for an international colloquium there, Le Mouvement en Musique à l'époque baroque (1994). Other teaching activities: early music lecturer at Conservatoire national de région, Strasbourg (1986-1988); harpsichord and chamber-music teacher at ENMD de Musique et de Danse (1995-2000); harpsichord teacher at Conservatoire national de région, Limoges (2000-2003).
Martha Cook has recorded a recital of English virginal music, Francis Tregian's Collection (Vanguard Classics); J.S. Bach's Musical Offering (BWV 1079) with Davitt Moroney (Harmonia Mundi); and Cavalli's opera Il Giasone under the direction of René Jacobs (Harmonia Mundi). In August 2015, her recording of J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue (BWV 1080) was released by the Belgian label Passacaille, and her book, L'Art de la fugue, une méditation en musique, was published by Editions Fayard, Paris (August 2015). Other piblications: A l'image de François Couperin, "les Idées heureuses" Cahiers de psychologie de l'art et de la culture (ENSBA, September 1990); Signes de mesure, termes de movement et caractères dans l'oeuvre pour clavecin de François Couperin, in Le Mouvement en Musique a l'Epoque Baroque, ed. Hervé Lacombe (Editions Serpenoise, 1996)