Max Cooke

MAX COOKE (1924 - 2021) was a leading figure in music performance and education, and taught some very talented students some of whom have been Professors of Music in Germany, Scotland and in Australia. His own performances brought him together with famous musicians and conductors.

Max Cooke studied at the University of Melbourne, specialising in Music at the University Conservatorium and languages in the Arts Faculty. He then proceeded to Europe where he studied piano at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, under the great concert pianist Alfred Cortot, and he studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

In 1951 he was invited by Professor Heinze to return to the Conservatorium as a member of staff. Max Cooke remained on the staff of the University of Melbourne until just a few years ago. He started as Chief Study Teacher, was then Senior Lecturer and later Associate Professor (Reader), and he was for six years until 1981 Dean of the Faculty and Chairman of the Department of Music. He was also a Professor at Monash University, and he taught also at the Victorian College of the Arts.

His career was involved with performance and teaching, and he produced a number of publications on music and on piano teaching, including one on Japanese Music Teaching Methods in Australia, and two on his work with musically gifted children. His publications titled TONE, TOUCH AND TECHNIQUE, together with CDs and videos that accompany them, are used extensively by piano teachers and students. They combine wide pianistic knowledge and experience with very considerable investigation and research into the physics and physiology of piano performance. He lectured on these publications in Europe and England as well as in Australia.

Max Cooke held positions including president of the Victorian Music Teachers Association, National President of the Australian Society for Music Education, and Chairman of the Commission on the Education of the Professional Musician within the International Society for Music Education (ISME).

In the field of performance, Max Cooke played many times as soloist with orchestras, giving over sixty concerto presentations, and was regularly involved with chamber music and accompanying, playing both piano and harpsichord. He worked with many local and overseas musicians, and spent a considerable time in Europe, particularly in Germany. He was an adjudicator on the panel of the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano (Italy).

With the TEAM OF PIANISTS which he founded, he gave and organised many recitals, produced seven CDs and two videos, and conducted broadcasts on radio 3 MBS FM. One of the Team¹s successful annual events is a series of recitals titled TWILIGHT CHAMBER MUSIC AT RIPPON LEA, involving the Team of Pianists with leading musicians from Australia and overseas.

In 1988 Max Cooke was invited to become a Fellow of the Australian College of Education. In the Queen’s birthday honours lists of 1998, he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to music and to education, particularly to piano pedagogy and the training of students. In 2001, Max Cooke received the 'Bundesverdienstkreuz' from the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Johannes Rau. This makes him an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic. In recent years he taught a number of very talented students from around the world, and took them on concert and study tours to Europe, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Upcoming Events

Classic Music in Historic Venues 2022-2024

supported by the Colin and Cicely Rigg Bequest

We are excited to announce a new two-year series of Classic Music in Historic Venues (2022-2024) supported by the Colin and Cicely Rigg Bequest, adminstered by Equity Trustees. With the conclusion of Pianomania! and our 2020/21 Rigg Bequest series, we are now developing this exciting new project, featuring outstanding artists and attractive concert programs in a range of metropolitan and regional historic venues. With the first concerts in forthcoming months, keep an eye on this website as this project takes shape.

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Read about the partners in the Team of Pianists

Robert Chamberlain
Darryl Coote - piano
Darryl Coote - piano
Rohan Murray - piano
Rohan Murray - piano

ROBERT CHAMBERLAIN is a versatile and accomplished pianist, with interests ranging from period performance to contemporary music and with specialisations including chamber and ensemble music. He studied for Bachelors and Masters degrees in Australia under Max Cooke, in Vienna as a winner of the Apex/Robert Stolz Scholarship, and also at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada.

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Australian-Irish pianist DARRYL COOTE is a partner of the Team of Pianists, Artists-in-Residence at Glenfern for the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). His professional life encompasses activity as solo pianist, chamber musician, concerto soloist, teacher, adjudicator and administrator.

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ROHAN MURRAY completed the Master of Music Performance degree at the Victorian College of the Arts with First Class Honours. He is a member of the Golden Key Honour Society, and was a grand finalist and prize-winner at the 2000 Australian Piano Award.

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