Duncan Johnstone celebration recital to be broadcast


A new event to celebrate the life and works of Duncan Johnstone, the influential piper, teacher and composer, took place in early March at the National Piping Centre (NPC) in Glasgow, Scotland.

The event was recorded at the National Piping Centre in strict adherence to all Scottish Government social distancing and COVID-safe guidelines. The broadcast will be aired on Saturday, April 10.

A spokesman for the NPC said: “‘A Celebration of Duncan Johnstone and his Music’ will be an evening of fantastic music and interviews with students of Duncan’s and fans of his music. During the concert you will hear solo piping from Roddy MacLeod MBE, one of Duncan’s most well-known pupils and John Dew who was the last overall winner of the Duncan Johnstone Memorial competition in 2019.”

The NPC’s Director of Piping, Finlay MacDonald – who is also a former pupil of Duncan’s – put together a band including Donald Shaw (founder member of Capercaillie and Director of Celtic Connections), fiddler Marie Fielding, and guitarist Steve Byrne. MacDonald said: “We wanted to make sure that we continue to honour and celebrate Duncan’s contribution to the piping world. This event showcases the depth and breadth of his music, but also gives us an opportunity to hear more about the man himself through those who had a personal connection to him and have been influenced by his body of work.”

• Watch a preview of the recital here:

Dougie Pincock, former piper with the Battlefield Band and Director of The National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, will also perform from his home in Plockton, as well as discussing his years of tutelage with Duncan.

This event will be premiered online on Saturday, April 10 from 7pm. Tickets cost £10:00 and can be purchased online at the National Piping Centre website through Inplayer, the same software that was used for Piping Live! and the Glenfiddich Piping Championship. After the event, you can rewatch it for a week until Saturday, April. 17

Duncan Johnstone (1925-1999) started piping aged nine, when his father also a piper, sent him to Angus Campbell of the Glasgow Police for tuition.

He joined St Francis Boys’ Guild Pipe Band, founded in Gorbals, Glasgow in 1926 by friars of the Franciscan mission. Later, he played with the Glasgow Transport Pipe Band.

Last year’s Duncan Johnstone Memorial competition was one of the first piping events that were either cancelled or postponed as the global pandemic reached Scotland.