The Balvenie Medal nomination process for 2024 

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The William Grant Foundation and The National Piping Centre invite nominations for the Balvenie Medal for 2024.

The Balvenie Medal for services to piping is awarded annually, subject to a suitable candidate being identified, and is presented at the Glenfiddich Piping Championships, which take place at Blair Castle in Perthshire, Scotland, on the last Saturday in October. 

First awarded in 1985, the award recognises those who have made an exceptional contribution to the study, performance and appreciation of the music of the Great Highland Bagpipe, and have helped sustain and promote piping as a thriving cultural tradition. With one annual recipient, the medal is awarded to those whose contribution has extended over a long period of service to piping and the piping community in Scotland or elsewhere. The medal is always presented in person to the recipient at the Championship, unless exceptional circumstances prevent them attending. Traditionally, the recipient is unaware they are to be honoured. 

In a change to previous years, nominations for the 2024 Balvenie Medal will open on 1st February 2024 and will be accepted until 31st March. A committee consisting of representatives of both the William Grant Foundation and The National Piping Centre plus two external members will then consider all the nominations and determine the recipient of the award for this year. 

Anyone in the worldwide piping community is welcome to nominate a suitable candidate for the Balvenie Medal. Nominations should be submitted in writing (email or post) to Helen Urquhart – email: hurquhart@thepipingcentre.co.uk or by post to: The National Piping Centre, 30-34 McPhater Street, Glasgow, G4 0HW. Please include as much relevant information as possible, to allow the committee to consider each application on its merits. Nominations should include: 

  • The name of the nominee. 
  • A summary of their involvement with piping. 
  • How they have demonstrated exceptional service to piping and their influence or impact on the piping world. 
  • Why it would be appropriate to recognise them at this time. 
  • The name(s) of the person/people submitting the nomination with contact email address and phone number for the nominator. If there is more than one nominator, it only needs to contain the lead contact’s details. 
  • How the nominator knows the nominee.

Once the committee has met, the successful nominator will be contacted by The National Piping Centre to confirm the feasibility of the nominee attending the 2024 Glenfiddich Piping Championship and the availability of the nominator or some other suitable person to introduce the recipient at the event. 

Once the nomination is confirmed, unsuccessful nominators will be notified, with feedback given about their application and, if appropriate, will be encouraged to put the nominee forward again in future, as no nominations will be rolled forward. 

The Glenfiddich Piping Championship was established in 1974 to inspire the world’s finest individual pipers and to seek the best overall exponents of ceòl mòr or piobaireachd (the great music) and ceòl beag or light music (the little music). The event is held annually at Blair Castle in Blair Atholl, Perthshire. Each year, 10 competitors qualify to play at this prestigious event through placing in one of a series of qualifying events. The event in 2024 will take place on Saturday 26th October 2024. 

Further information about the Glenfiddich Piping Championship and this new nomination process for the Balvenie Medal – including a list of former recipients – can be found at The National Piping Centre website at www.thepipingcentre.co.uk/Glenfiddich 

Jakez Pincet is presented with The Balvenie Medal by Maggie Gordon, daughter of Sandy Grant Gordon of Wm. Grant & Sons in 2012. Photo: Derek Maxwell Photography
•Rose Fletcher was the winner of the Balvenie Medal in 2001.