Pipe Major Iain Morrison, 1945-2020

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Pipe Major Iain Murdo Morrison died in hospital in Stornoway yesterday (Thursday). He hadn’t been well for a while and had been in hospital in Glasgow last month.

Iain, a native of the isle of Lewis, was undoubtedly one of the best pipers of his generation, or, indeed of any generation. He was taught by Pipe Majors Kenneth MacLeod, Donald MacLeod, John Allan and John MacLellan MBE. As a soldier in the Queen’s Own Highlanders he studied on the Advanced Pipe Major’s course from October 1968-April 1969 under MacLellan. 

When he won the Gold Medal at the 1969 Northern Meeting (playing Lament for the Viscount of Dundee) he was the first winner to have enlisted and spent all his service in the Queen’s Own Highlanders. He was appointed Pipe Major of the regiment in 1975. In 1980 he was appointed Pipe Major of the Scottish Division School of Music at Aberdeen.

Iain won most of the major piping awards including the Northern Meeting Clasp in 1990, the Former Winners’ MSR in 1972, and the Open Piobaireachd at Oban in 1976.                       .

Iain was heavily involved with the founding of the Pipe Major Donald MacLeod Memorial invitational competition. Among Iain’s many great compositions are Angela’s Wedding, Captain MacLaren’s March, The Ness Pipers and Arthur Gillies. Jim Wark composed a jig for Iain in 1980.

Friend, Major-General Seymour Monro, 1st Battalion Queen’s Own Highlanders and of Chairman of the Northern Meeting Piping Trust, said: “He was a great piper; he made music, he did not just play the tunes. He ranks up there with the very best.

“We have lost a humble, gentle star.”

We extend our condolences to wife Flora, son Iain Jnr with whom he recorded a piping album, and the rest of the Morrison family.