Colin Pykett has a first class honours degree and a PhD in physics from King's College London, and he is also a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. He was formerly Chief Scientist and Technical Director in a high technology organisation before retiring from a career during which he spent many years working in acoustics and digital signal processing among other topics. His musical training began at the age of six with the piano, and subsequently it took in the oboe and the organ. Initially he studied the latter instrument with the late Russell Missin at St Mary's Nottingham, and subsequently he received tuition from others of similar stature while at university. He has continued to play the organ in many churches for more than fifty years.
Colin has undertaken research in organ topics for several decades, particularly in the physics of sound generation in organ pipes, and he has been recording and analysing their sounds for over 40 years - he was among the first to 'sample' in high fidelity the sounds of individual pipes in an organ in the 1970s and subject them to computer analysis. He is recognised internationally for his work on electronic tone production, having published his first papers on the subject in 1980. Since then he has investigated responsive mechanical and electric actions for pipe organs from both an experimental and a theoretical standpoint. He has designed and made several electronic organs, one being a large dual-purpose instrument with both classical and theatre voicing which can be seen and heard on the home page. His latest digital system is being continually updated and it is described and can be heard on the Prog Organ pages. More recently he has become known for his detailed research into engineering aspects of the electric actions invented by Robert Hope-Jones, which overturns much of the received wisdom and misconceptions widely held for over a century. This work has been cited in New Grove. All this activity is reflected in many detailed articles on this website (see Complete Articles) and in contributions to public domain print journals over more than three decades (see Other Publications), and it has formed the basis of countless talks and demonstrations given to various organ associations over the years.
His advice is frequently sought, particularly in the complex field of digital organs where he is one of the few able to offer expert but unbiased advice which is completely independent of the industry, and he has also been retained to advise on pipe organs. In 2007 he was the first recipient of the Arthur le Boutillier Award of the Electronic Organ Constructors' Society "for outstanding service over many years". He is often approached by journalists seeking an independent view of issues relating to digital and pipe organs, as a consequence of which his work has been cited in major newspapers such as the New York Times and the Boston Globe.