A plethora of piping


The 16th Piping Live! – Glasgow International Piping Festival – kicks off this weekend. There is so much quality piping going on during this week, more than you can shake a wooden practice chanter at.

The National Piping Centre’s bagpipe.news is an official media partner. Here is our pick of the week:

Saturday, August 11 – The Silver Chanter 2019
7.30pm at The National Piping Centre in MacPhater Street.
The 53rd Annual Silver Chanter will see six of our leading pipers compete for one of piping’s most iconic trophies. This is a formal evening so dig out your boatie. The pipers taking part are Iain Speirs, Jack Lee, Jamie Forrester, Stuart Liddell, Callum Beaumont and Finlay Johnston. Speirs is the current holder. Find Tickets

Monday, August 12 – The Masters Solo Piping Competition
8:30am for the Ceòl Mòr then approx. 5.00pm for the MSR. At The National Piping Centre in MacPhater Street
Without tempting fate or jumping the gun, this is certain to be another day of top drawer piping from some of solo piping’s household names: Ian K. MacDonald, Donald MacPhee, Alan Bevan, John-Angus Smith, Stuart Liddell (the 2018 winner), James Murray, Willie McCallum, Glenn Brown, Brian Donaldson, Finlay Johnston, Stuart Easton, Peter McCalister, Fred Morrison, Roddy MacLeod, Craig Sutherland, Angus MacColl, Callum Beaumont, Jack Lee, Iain Speirs Alistair Lee, Brendon Eade, Andrew Carlisle, Pipe Major Ben Duncan, Gordon McCready and Connor Sinclair. The MSR contest commences after the ceòl mòr. The overall winner qualifies to play at this year’s Glenfiddich. Find Tickets

John Wilson.
John Wilson.

Tuesday, August 13 – Piobaireachd of the Day: John Wilson /The International Quartet Competition
At 2.30pm up at The National Piping Centre (Otago Street)/7.30pm at The National Piping Centre (MacPhater Street)
John Wilson really needs to introduction to a piping audience. He will be in recital at 2.30pm at the NPC’s Otago Street campus (two stops/four minutes on the subway from Cowcaddens) where he will include one of Pipe Major Donald MacLeod’s compositions in his recital. The tune is from the newly published revision of the Lewis maestro’s ceòl mòr compositions. It is expected that the book will be available to buy as well. John will be joined by Susan Miller née MacLeod, Donald’s daughter – she of the eponymous strathspey. Find Tickets

After a Scooby snack and a beer or six, which can be enjoyed at the Street Café outside MacPhater Street, at 3.30pm it’s then time for Heat 2 of Pipe Idol (featuring Filemon Tan, Jamie Brownlie, Martin McPhee and Brodie Watson-Massey). Brighde Chaimbeul is playing at 5pm before we come neatly to the intensely popular International Quartet competition, sponsored by RT Shepherd and Son. This kicks of at 7:30pm and the bands taking part are: the 78th Fraser Highlanders and Simon Fraser University (both from Canada), Canterbury Caledonian Society (New Zealand), Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland), Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia, Glasgow Police, Inveraray & District and Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia. As ever, 10 anonymous judges decide the winner. Find Tickets

Wednesday, August 14 – Learn @ Live workshop/Piobaireachd of the Day: Allan MacDonaldMalin Makes Music
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Renfrew Street/The National Piping Centre (Otago Street)/The National Piping Centre (MacPhater Street)
This new initiative sees five sessions throughout the day on subjects ranging from Pipe Band Setup (with Richard Parkes and Keith Orr) and West Highland Piping (Allan and Dr Angus MacDonald) to MSR Playing (Angus MacColl and Jim McGillivray) and Pipe Band Medley Construction (Robert Mathieson and Terry Lee). These workshops are sure to prove popular with all levels of pipers and drummers. These workshops are on all day so consult the Piping Live! website for those that suit you. Find Tickets

Allan MacDonald.
Allan MacDonald.

At 2.30pm at Otago Street (the former College of Piping) Allan MacDonald is in recital. Allan’s interpretations are always worth listening to. Make sure you’re sitting tightly on your chair! Find Tickets

Then, back down down at MacPhater Street at 3.45pm, Gary West chairs a question and answer panel discussion with Terry Lee and Robert Mathieson. The format is very much like the Piping Times’ Lunchtime Discussion that took place last year and is certain to prove popular with the pipe band fraternity. Find out more.

Scottish Power Pipe Band is in concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall but for those who are not keen on pipe bands, at 7.30pm there is an intriguing bill at MacPhater Street organised by the Lowland & Border Pipers’ Society. This sees virtuoso pipers, Jarlath Henderson and Ali Hutton join young Malin Lewis on the two-octave Lindsay System Chanter as they perform classic and contemporary music. Find Tickets

Thursday, August 15 – Learn @ Live workshop/Trade Fair/Book launch: Tunes From the Golden Gate/Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Recital Challenge
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Renfrew Street/The National Piping Centre (Otago Street)/The National Piping Centre (MacPhater Street)
Thursday is a particularly busy day so make sure you’re wearing your Nikes. The workshop series continues with topics such as Breton Piping (Patrick Molard and Hervé Le Floc’h, the Music of Gordon Duncan (Ian Duncan and Ali Hutton) and Writing Harmonies for Pipe Tunes (Finlay MacDonald and Steven Blake). Find Tickets

The Trade Fair opens at 11am down at the Exhibition Hall of Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. This was an incredibly busy day at last year’s Piping Live! Once again, there is a plethora of exhibitors taking part this year: pipe makers, reed makers, book publishers etc. Find Out More

Kyle Rothschild.

At 4pm, Kyle Rothschild launches his second tune book. Kyle has played with Prince Charles Pipe Band (of San Francisco), Vale of Atholl and St Laurence O’Toole and his tunes have been played by bands across the grades. We reckon there will be some interesting new music at this launch. Find out more

The Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Recital Challenge kicks off at 7.30pm. This year’s pipers are Angus MacColl, Callum Beaumont, Stuart Liddell and Finlay Johnston. This event will be a sell out, so get your tickets early. Find Tickets

Friday 16 August: Street Café Sessions/Friday Night Folk
The National Piping Centre (MacPhater Street)/Drygate
While the World Pipe Band Championships Grade 1 qualifier kicks off at 9am at Glasgow Green, at the Street Café in MacPhater Street there are sessions from 12 noon onwards. Bring your instrument and join in the Big Session at 5pm. NB, there are practice sessions for this taking place up at Otago Street on Monday and Wednesday.

Whether you’ve spent the day at the Green or at the Street Cafè, a saunter is in order down to the Drygate in High Street at 7.30pm for what looks like a great night of traditional music. Irish superstars Lúnasa are joined by Cape Breton’s Beòlach and Asturian piping from the R.Alba Duo. Find Tickets

Sunday, August 18 – The Gordon Duncan Memorial Competition/Dougie MacLean and Piping Friends
The National Piping Centre (MacPhater Street)/Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
The annual Gordon Duncan Memorial Competition takes place at 2.30pm and is a great way to spend the day after the Worlds. The format is as per the MacCrimmon Competition (formerly the Macallan Trophy) held annually at the Lorient Interceltique Festival. Find Tickets

Folk singer, Dougie MacLean’s concert is certain to be a popular one and no wonder. He has recorded at least 14 albums, many of which featured original music arranged – indeed composed in some cases – by Gordon Duncan. The pipers featured on the bill with him are from the group, Tryst (Calum MacCrimmon, John Mulhearn, Ross Ainslie and chums). Find Tickets

Phew, what a week! This is only a selection of the fantastic piping and drumming from across the world that is on show. The Piping Live! website has the full event listing and you can download the programme … or pop into McPhater Street or Otago Street to pick up a print programme when you’re in town.