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I was sorry to hear of the death of Peter Cooke who was an important figure in the early days of the LBPS. I used to meet him at The School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh which he made available for the LBPS to use as a venue for meetings and the Competition. He was a genial and unassuming man and at first I had no idea of his international reputation as a respected ethnomusicologist, who spent much of his life recording, documenting and researching music, specialising in Ugandan as well as Scottish music.

Though not a piper himself he clearly understood the importance of chronicling the emergence of these Scottish instruments that had been forgotten for well over a century and was keen to record for posterity as much as possible of this exciting revival. Right from the start he recorded and took detailed notes of each competition and these are to be found in the SSS archives. The Society owes a lot to Peter. (Ed: these recordings were catalogued a few years ago; the recordings themselves are still only reel-to-reel and require permissions to broadcast.)

He certainly had an impact on my pipemaking as it was he who first encouraged me to go to Nova Scotia to measure the Iain Dall chanter which I did a few years later. This has become a lifelong research project for me ever since; thank you, Peter!

More recently, when I told him that my son had moved to India he sent me a couple of photos of Highland pipemakers that he had taken in 1986 on a research visit to Meerut; a town north of Delhi. I was fascinated by this and, armed with the photos, travelled there in 2017 to meet pipe makers who I was delighted to find still working. It was a memorable trip and I was happy to send him an account of my visit. Once again, thank you Peter!

Reading Alison McMorland’s obituary of him in Living Tradition magazine has made me realise how little I knew about this modest, generous and inspiring man whose life and work has had an enormous impact on so many people. She describes him as ‘an internationally renowned ethnomusicologist, musician, musical director, lecturer, founder of forums, archivist (whose) life’s work embraced and touched a myriad of people.’

He was certainly an influence on the LBPS and on my life, and there will be many other musicians, musical researchers and singers who owe gratitude to him for the help and encouragement he gave.  I would love to hear from other members of the LBPS about their memories of Peter.

Julian Goodacre May 19th 2021