Canada 150: the 15 Greatest Canadian Pipers & Drummers (deceased)

Published: June 30, 2017
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July 1, 2017, marks the 150th year since Canada officially became a nation with its Articles of Confederation completed, with Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick originally forming the country. With also most 100 years of success, Canada’s contribution to piping, drumming and pipe bands is second only to Scotland, and perhaps no other country has had such an impact on the way we play today.

pipes|drums marks the 150th birthday by identifying the 15 Greatest Canadian Pipers and Drummers, as decided by two panels of expert, starting with the greatest 15 who are no longer with us. We will follow shortly with a list of the 15 Greatest Living Canadian Pipers and Drummers, determined by a separate group.

We asked some 15 well respected and knowledgeable individuals to rank nearly 30 long-listed nominees. We tabulated the average rankings to come up with our final roll of greats. Of course, it’s all subjective, and your opinions might well vary. There are truly dozens of individuals now deceased who had a significant and lasting impact on Canadian piping and drumming.

Many of these history-making contributors are Scottish immigrants to Canada, still a country of immigrants, while others were born and raised Canadian. Those Canadian citizens who might have left Canada permanently were not included.

We hope that you enjoy this feature as we pay homage to Canada’s contributions to piping and drumming both on Canadian national and world levels.


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    Nice work! John Wilson published 3 collections of pipe music, the third being the Canadian Centenial collection…all three of which I continue to use and teach my students today…

    Mike Baker

  2. D.J.

    It is interesting that none of the excellent 15 selected musicians appear to be players who played predominantly for dancing. Today, we seem to be band players, solo competitors or piobaireachd pipers. Would there be any interest in a list of 150 ceilidh/dance pipers.

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UPCOMING EVENTS February 24, 2018More Ceol Mor! Piobaireachd WorkshopToronto

February 24, 2018Toronto Knockout Final RoundMoss Park Armoury, Toronto, Ontario

February 24, 2018Boney Music Memorial Invitational Piping Competition & RecitalHalpern Centre, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia

March 3, 2018Uist & Barra Solo Piping CompetitionCollege of Piping

March 3, 2018Redding Bagpipe CompetitionRed Lion Hotel Redding, California

Pipers: For those playing cane reeds, if they stop try blowing down the drone a couple of times rather than springing the tongue. This will give the blade a natural gentle lift.
Euan Anderson, Edinburgh