February 27, 2024

Andrew Wright’s extraordinary two weeks in Southern California – Part 3

We conclude our series of articles and videos from the great piobaireachd master Andrew Wright’s two-week visit to the University of California, Riverside, in May 2016 with the lecture he delivered to students and a performance of the ground and variations of “The Desperate Battle.”

Click to access the full 27-page pdf of the lecture.

The visit came to light thanks to the well-known piper and piping judge Neill Mulvie, a great friend of Wright, contacting pipes|drums.

While helping to sort through Andrew Wright’s piping belongings, Mulvie encountered a printed document titled “Lecture UCLA May 2016.” He asked if we knew anything in California since Wright’s widow, Isobel, could not recall.

We didn’t know, so we contacted several California-based pipers, including Ian Whitelaw, the longtime pupil of Wright who, as we have seen in the previous two parts, not only provided great details about the visit but also important visuals and videos.

It was the “UCLA” part that confused us. Whitelaw concluded it was simply a typo since the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is known more than UCR.

So, thanks to Neill Mulvie and Ian Whitelaw, we are pleased to provide the text of the lecture.

Unfortunately, there is no known audio or video recording of the lecture. The printed text includes Wright’s notes in his distinctive handwriting. We could not locate any visual or audio examples that he refers to in the lecture.

We are also delighted to include a video performance of the 80-year-old Andrew Wright playing the first half of “The Desperate Battle.”






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