Nelson Cooke

Nelson Cooke
Birth name Nelson Ripley Cooke
Born (1919-12-21)21 December 1919
Bellbird, New South Wales, Australia
Died 7 February 2018(2018-02-07) (aged 98)
Occupation(s) Principal cellist, London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Instruments Cello
Years active 1950s - 2009

Nelson Ripley Cooke AM (21 December 1919 – 7 February 2018)[1] was an Australian cellist who was principal cellist at the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras during the 1950s and 1960s.


Cooke was born in Bellbird, New South Wales, Australia.[2] He began playing the cello aged 8, having previously been a piano player.[2][1] During the Second World War, Cooke served in the Australian Defence Force, during which time he visited Papua New Guinea and the Soloman Islands.[2] In 1949, Cooke travelled to the UK to be taught by Pau Casals. Cooke was principal cellist in the London Symphony Orchestra in the 1950s, making him the first Australian cellist at the orchestra. In the 1960s, he became principal cellist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.[2][1] In 1968, Cooke began teaching at the University of South Florida, and later became Head of Strings at the Canberra School of Music.[1][3] In 1988, Cooke founded the Riverina Summer School for Strings.[3] Cooke retired from playing the cello at the age of 90.[1] In 2011, Cooke was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the New Years Honours List.[2][1][3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Obiturary: Nelson Cooke 1919–2018". London Symphony Orchestra. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mark, David (13 June 2011). "91-yr-old cellist and war veteran awarded". ABC. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "DEATH OF A PRINCIPAL CELLIST, 98". Slipped Disc. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.

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