Finlay MacDonald, pictured, a member of staff at the National Piping Centre (NPC) for almost 20 years, has been appointed Artistic Director of this year’s Piping Live! Glasgow International Festival of Piping, the world’s largest bagpipe festival.

MacDonald has been involved with the festival’s programming since its inception in 2003.

The 42-year-old from East Renfrewshire is a talented piper and composer in his own right and has worked with many leading artists in the traditional music world. Taught initially by his father, Iain, with whom he played alongside in the Neilston & District Pipe Band, Finlay also received tuition from Duncan Johnstone and PM Angus MacDonald MBE. In 1996 he was one of the first pipers to graduate from the BA Scottish Music degree course run by the then Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Shortly after, he joined the NPC, taking up the position of Head of Piping Studies. In 2007, MacDonald and Simon McKerrell published an acclaimed collection of contemporary music, entitled The McKerrell-MacDonald Collection. MacDonald played with ScottishPower Pipe Band, and was involved with the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band. He is a member of pipe ensemble, Tryst.

Piping Live logo

Piping Live! is organised by the National Piping Centre. This year’s festival is planned for August 8-16 and will feature over 200 performances across Glasgow’s city centre. Regarding current concerns that the coronavirus pandemic will impact on this year’s festival, spokesman Alberto Laidlaw said: “We are assessing the situation on a daily basis and are taking advice from the relevant government bodies. We are hoping that we can run Piping Live!, but public safety is the main concern and we will make a decision based on that as soon as possible.”

Piping Live! began in 2003 and in 2008 was voted Event of The Year at that year’s Scottish Traditional Music Awards. According to official figures, last year’s festival generated over £2million (approximately US$2.67million) for the city of Glasgow’s economy with the knock-on national figure being considerably higher.