Peter Russell Crowe was born Palmerston North on 25th February 1932 and educated at Christ's College, Christchurch NZ 1945–8; Victoria University College, Wellington NZ 1953–8 (DipMus 1956, BMusHons 1958). Further studies in composition with Bruno Maderna, then Sydney and Auckland Universities in anthropology and ethnomusicology. Specialist in Melanesian music. 1974 Anzac Fellow. Joint-co-ordinator Vanuatu Oral Traditions Programme since 1975. Secretary-Treasurer European Seminar in Ethnomusicology, member Société Française d'Ethnomusicologie. Over 150 publications on ethnomusicology and NZ music. He spent most of his adult life in France and was director of LATOP (Laboratoire des Traditions Orales du Pacifique) at Université de Bordeaux-2.
He returned to live in Auckland, New Zealand in the late 1990s and died on 21 April 2004.