June 30, 2017

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

#12: Alex MacNeill

Alex MacNeill, playing in Toronto in 1990.

Undoubtedly lesser-known to younger pipers and drummers, but Alex MacNeill’s mark on Canadian piping and drumming was significant. Another Scottish immigrant to Canada, he was identified closely with the once piping-reach city of Montreal. Alex MacNeill was the son of the great composer and piper, Archibald “Blind Archie” MacNeill, and the cousin of the legendary Seumas MacNeill. Like so many other Scottish immigrants, Alex MacNeill was employed by one of the national railways. His tenure with the Canadian Pacific and the leadership of that band while it existed, set a strong standard of excellence for the country that had not been seen previously. He also taught and influenced countless pipers, including Scott MacAulay and Colin MacLellan.



  1. 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. 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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