On April 30, 2022, at the 2nd Annual Scottish Performing Arts Classic, Ian K. MacDonald of Toronto, won the inaugural Joseph MacDonald Memorial Prize for Piobaireachd playing The Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon.

The Clan Donalds Land Trust is the sponsor of the event and congratulates the other three finalists: Alex Gandy of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia who played A Lament for Rory Mor Macleod; Nick Hudson of Houston, Texas who played A Lament for the Laird of Anapool; and Ben McClamrock of Washington, D.C. who played The Bells of Perth.

The competition was adjudicated by Dr Angus MacDonald from the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The reader was J.D. Ingraham, the Pipe Major of the City of Charleston Police Pipes and Drums.

CDLT recognises the time and effort required by these professional musicians to learn and perfect their performances. Therefore, CDLT ensures its prizes are commensurate with that effort. Each competitor was given $1,000 to participate in the Classic along with two-nights hotel accommodation.  The Grand Prize was an additional $2,000.  The Trust does not provide second or third prizes as it believes that the competitors are all equally talented but on the day one player may have raised his head slightly above the water, as it were.

The Scottish Performing Arts Classic is sponsored by the Clan Donald Lands Trust and the Robert Burns Society of Charleston, with the cooperation and assistance of the Saint James Academy of the Arts. The entire 2022 competition may be viewed below.

The ancient MacDonald Lords of the Isles saw it as their responsibility to support, encourage, and develop the Gaelic culture in all its forms.  The Lords of the Isles built churches, supported monasteries, were patrons of dancing, clarsach playing, poetry and, of course, piping.  For more than thirty years, the Clan Donald Lands Trust (CDLT), in the name of great Clan Donald, has been honoured to carry on this important responsibilit

In the world of piping, CDLT sponsors the Gold Clasp at the Northern Meeting, The Donald MacDonald Quaich at Armadale Castle on Skye, the John MacDonald MBE of Inverness Memorial Prize at the R.U. Brown Gold Clasp Contest in Australia, and the Sir John A Macdonald Gold Bar at the Glengarry Highland Games in Canada. To these important competitions, CDLT is pleased to add the Joseph MacDonald Memorial Prize for Piobaireachd which forms part of the Scottish Performing Arts Classic in Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

In 1760, Joseph MacDonald wrote a manuscript which he entitled A Compleat Theory of the Scots Highland Bagpipe. He was a piper himself, and as far as is known, the first piper ever to write on the subject or to attempt to record in notation the music we now know as piobaireachd.

While Joseph MacDonald was an officer in the service of The India Company. He compiled his manuscript over three years, between 1760 and 1763. The Compleat Theory of The Scots Highland Bagpipe has become a fitting legacy for Joseph MacDonald, this being the first publication of its type and so specific was it that it is of a standard other exponents in the same field strive for today. There was very little MacDonald left out in his manuscript, the title page listing the contents: “A Compleat Theory of the Scots Highland Bagpipe Containing All the Shakes, Introductions, Graces, & Cuttings which are peculiar to this Instrument. Reduc’d to Order & Method: fully explain’d & noted at Large in 58 Tables & Examples.”

The Compleat Theory of The Scots Highland Bagpipe was published in 1803, posthumously by Patrick MacDonald, his brother, as Joseph died in Calcutta of a malignant fever at the young age of twenty-four.