The legendary piper Alasdair Gillies died suddenly on the morning of August 27, 2011, at the age of 47. Probably the most successful solo light music competitor in history, Gillies won almost every major prize in both piobaireachd and light music, some many times over.
Born December 6, 1963, a native of Ullapool, Scotland, and the son of the great solo piper Norman Gillies, his record of 11 Former Winners MSR Silver Stars at the Northern Meeting may never be rivaled. Indeed, it was the Northern Meeting where Gillies reigned supreme, winning every trophy in both senior and junior piping but one – the B-Grade Strathspey & Reel – another record that may not be matched.
Among his other awards were the Glenfiddich Championship three times, both Highland Society of London Gold Medals and the Clasp at Inverness.
At the turn of the last century, Alasdair Gillies was voted by pipes|drums readers as the best piper of the 20th century.
He was a career piper, first with the military as Pipe-Major of the Queen’s Own Highlanders and latterly as director of Carnegie-Mellon University’s degree in piping for 12 years.
A full appreciation of Alasdair Gillies will appear soon in pipes|drums.
On behalf of the world piping and drumming community, we extend our condolences to Alasdair Gillies’s family and friends at this sad time.
The funeral will be at 11 am on Saturday, September 3, 2011, at the Church of Scotland in Ullapool.