Applications open for 17th Balmoral Classic Junior Solo Piping Championship


Pittsburgh’s Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming invites young pipers age 21 and under to apply to participate in the 2023 Balmoral Classic: US Junior Solo Bagpiping Championship.

The competition will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023, from 9:00am to 4:30pm. An awards ceremony will follow at 5:00pm. The venue will be the Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh, 4200 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.

Pipers will compete in MSR and piobaireachd events. The competition’s overall prize is decided by a combination of scores from piobaireachd and MSR.


The Overall Winners of the last six Classic competitions were: Joseph Horwath (2017), Charlie Morris (2018), Kayleigh Johnston (2019), David Stulpner (2020), Cameron Bonar( 2021), and Paul Mackay (2022).

The 2023 panel of distinguished judges includes:

John Cairns (Canada) was the first person from outside of Scotland to win the two Highland Society of London Gold Medals for solo piping at Oban and Inverness. He has won numerous other prizes, including eight Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario Champion Supreme designations, three North American Champion titles, the Bratach Gorm, the Piobaireachd Society Canadian Gold Medal, Bar to the Gold Medal and Former Winners March, Strathspey & Reel Contest, three Livingstone Invitational Contests, and three Fergus Gold Medals for Light Music.

Scot Walker (USA) was rated #1 Overall Professional Piping Competitor for seven years running by the EUSPBA. He has won 1st at nearly all the major North American Solo Championships, and in Scotland at games in Dornoch, Strathpeffer, Lonach and Cowel. A 4th-generation player with many years of experience, Scot served as Pipe Major of the Lehigh Valley Pipe Band for 20 years, and played with Lomond and Clyde Pipe Band in Glasgow, Scotland until 2016. He is a member of the EUSPBA judges’ panel, and is a published composer.

Glenna Mackay-Johnstone (Canada) grew up in a piping household as a daughter of the late, great Ontario piper, Reay Mackay. She has played at the highest levels in both solo and band competition. She was a member of the 78th Fraser Highlanders, participating in many World Championships and a host of North American Championship. Glenna is a judge with the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario and was a member of the organization’s Music Committee for several years. Both of her children are accomplished pipers, rising fast in both solos and bands

There will be a free Piobaireachd workshop with John Cairns—open to all 2023 applicants and former Classic competitors—on Sunday morning, November 5.