Leader

Bill Cook

Bill Cook

Born in Alloa in 1939, Bill is the eldest of three children. He comes from a musical family; his father was an accomplished violinist. His brother plays the guitar, his sister the piano, but it was to the violin that Bill was directed as a youngster under the tutelage of his father who was at the time the conductor of Stirling Strathspey and Reel Society. This early association with Scottish music fuelled a passion within Bill which was to become a major influence in his life and was to take him all over the world.

His talent really developed in the Army, where he played on a regular basis and was allowed to mature into a fine violinist, attending classes in London earning plaudits for his arranging talents as well as his playing ability. He left after a six year spell and found himself looking at a return to Scotland with his wife Theresa and their young family.

He decided against orchestral playing, as he wished to be at home, and quite by chance found himself being offered the position of violin teacher by Clackmannan Council. He accepted the position and for the next thirty years until his retirement he was the inspiration for many youngsters and became a highly respected player, adjudicator, composer and publisher with several successful books on Scottish fiddle playing to his name.

Bill’s talents reach far beyond music however. As a teenager he was very active in sport and became an international standard tennis player. He is an accomplished painter with many fine works to his credit. He also developed an interest in restoring old cars, which he has passed on to his son Steven, who himself is now an award winning enthusiast. Altogether, for Theresa and the kids, life could never be called dull!

During all this time, Bill was playing, writing and becoming more and more involved in the Scottish music scene. Following the loss of his father he took on the role of musical director and conductor of Stirling Strathspey and Reel Society, a position which he has held right up to the present time, and it was probably inevitable that he would catch John Mason’s eye sooner or later.

John had founded the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra in the late 70s, which was enjoying great success, and had a requirement for a new leader. Bill took on the challenge with his usual enthusiasm and has been leader since 1983. In that time he has become a much loved and highly respected figure within the orchestra and it was with pride that Bill accepted the role of President.