The five pipers who will perform at this year’s online Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Recital Challenge are: Roddy MacLeod MBE, Stuart Liddell, Angus MacColl, Callum Beaumont and Connor Sinclair.

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The competition, part of Piping Live!, takes place behind closed doors at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow on Thursday, August 13 at 7.30pm (GMT) and will be broadcast live online. The livestream is priced at £10 and can be accessed here.

The ‘Alasdair Gillies Memorial’ evolved from the recital format started in 2001 at the Lord Todd Bar of Glasgow’s Strathclyde University. The recitals were the idea of Willie McCallum and George Wood who both worked at the university at the time. In 2003, the Lord Todd Recital Challenge began with Angus MacColl being the first winner. When Willie and George left Strathclyde University, the event became part of Piping Live! and was renamed to remember the late Alasdair Gillies. McCallum Bagpipes Ltd. has sponsored the competition since its inception.

The 2003 Lord Todd Recital Challenge. Alasdair Gillies is second from the right.

The competition format hasn’t changed: five leading pipers perform a recital of their favourite tunes but which must include a piobaireachd ground and an MSR. Five ‘secret’ judges in the audience assess the musical performance rather than the concept of error counting. (Organisers are currently considering how best to implement an adjudication process for this year’s competition.)

Angus MacColl has won this competition seven times.

Previous winners:
2003 – Angus MacColl
2004 – Angus MacColl
2005 – Angus MacColl
2006 – Gordon Walker
2007 – Stuart Liddell
2008 – Angus MacColl
2009 – Angus MacColl
2010 – Angus MacColl
2011 – Stuart Liddell
2012 – Gordon Walker
2013 – Gordon Walker
2014 – not held
2015 – not held
2016 – Stuart Liddell
2017 – Stuart Liddell
2018 – Angus MacColl
2019 – Callum Beaumont

Held in memory of the late Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies, who died suddenly in 2011 aged 47, this competition is a very popular element of Piping Live!

• Read Bruce Hitchings’ memories of his former comrade.

John Wilson acting as ‘fear an tighe’ at the packed 2013 event.