Lincoln Hilton from Australia was the overall winner at the Gordon Duncan Memorial Piping Competition broadcast live this afternoon from the National Piping Centre (NPC) in Glasgow, Scotland as part of this year’s Piping Live! festival.

Hilton won two of the three categories: sets in the Scottish, Irish and Breton disciplines. He won the Irish set and the Bteton set.

This year the competition saw pre-recorded performances from four pipers – Scott Wallace (Ireland), Xavier Bouderiou (Brittany), Ross Ainslie (Scotland) and Lincoln Hilton (Australia) – judged by a secret panel of international judges. A large global audience watched online.

Fear an tighe, Gary West, Vice Chairman of the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust (GDMT), announced Hilton as the winner.

West went on to announce that the Trust has now made an astonishing £103,000 in awards to various good causes in piping.

The charity, founded in 2006 after the death of one of piping’s outstanding talents, reached the milestone last month with a donation to Bobby Allen, a young piper who has Asperger syndrome and who has been accepted onto the degree course run jointly by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the NPC. The donation is to help fund his piping lessons.

Prior to the results being announced, the youngster from Chryston in North Lanarkshire entertained the audience with a set of tunes – including tunes composed by himself and some by Gordon Duncan including Thunderstruck.

Gary West said: “Over the last couple of years we saw the need to help out musicians who had lost their main source of income during the pandemic and established a strand of funding we called Performance Awards. Successful applicants simply had to video record themselves playing a short set which included a Gordon Duncan composition. We made many such awards and the resulting archive of performances can be seen on the Trust’s website. We were delighted with the response for that, but reaching the overall milestone of having given out awards totally more than £100,000 is something we’re very proud of.”

The GDMT was founded by the virtuoso piper and composer’s family and friends with the aim of preserving and building on Duncan’s legacy by funding and supporting young traditional musicians. The idea was the brainchild of folk musician Martin Hughes, a friend of Gordon. For over 15 years it has supported young pipers and pipe bands, and other traditional music groups, in accessing quality tuition and developing their compositions.

There were also performance awards for hard up musicians during lockdown.

A full list of sponsorships and awards made can be found on the Trust’s website.

Trustees of the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust, Back row, left-to-right: Lesley Shaw Angus Clarke, Sandy MacFarlane, Siân Mailer, Frances MacFarlane, Gary West, Fiona Ritchie, John Thomson. Front row: Chris Duncan, Ian Duncan and Ian Green. Gordon Duncan Jnr., a talented musician in his own right, is also one of the trustees..

Gordon Duncan died on December 14, 2005. He was recognised widely as the most innovative and influential piper of his generation, someone whose playing and composing inspired a generation to take up piping. His musical approach was, to quote his obituary in The Scotsman, “gleefully irreverent.” He lived just outside Pitlochry in Perthshire for most of his life.

The competition was sponsored by McCallum Bagpipes.

* Click here to apply for a performance award from the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust.

  • Watch Gordon Duncan playing at the National Piping Centre in 2004 (footage captured by Chris Eyre):