Published: January 16, 2015

Highland piping events noticeably absent at 2015 Celtic Connections

CelticConnections_logo_2014The 2015 edition of the annual Celtic Connections kicked off on January 15, but for the first time in many years the festival is without two major events that put the focus on the Highland pipes.

The usual Piping Concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Gordon Duncan Memorial Piping Recital are both absent from this year’s lineup. The concert in the past has featured the likes of Field Marshal Montgomery, the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band and, last year, the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland, and was seen as a much-needed dose of pipe banding in the bleak Scottish midwinter.

According to sources, the Gordon Duncan Memorial will likely return in 2016, but no reason was given for its absence in 2015.

There are other events that feature the Highland pipes, perhaps most notably homage to the late Pipe-Major Donald MacLeod MBE on January 17th at the Mitchell Theatre. “Crossing the Minch – The Music of Pipe Major Donald MacLeod MBE” will go on with the aforementioned National Youth Pipe Band and pipers Calum MacCrimmon, John Wilson, John Mulhearn, James Duncan Mackenzie and Rona Lightfoot all contributing.

Highland piper Finlay MacDonald and the ScottishPower Pipe Band helped kick off the 20th anniversary Celtic Connection festival in 2014.

MacLeod was recently ranked #2 in pipes|drums 20 Greatest Pipers in History project, an extensive rating of Highland pipers, now deceased, born after 1750.

Renowned Highland piper and composer Allan MacDonald will showcase “The Bruce 700,” his composition commissioned by Stirling Council to mark 700 years since the Battle of Bannockburn on January 28th at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with 50 other musicians on pipes, strings, brass, vocals and percussion.

More Highland piping at the 17-day festival:

  • “Nae Regrets,” a deconstruction of the late Martyn Bennett’s GRIT – January 15
  • Breabach, January 22
  • Finlay MacDonald & Chris Stout, January 24
  • “Wired to the World,” Mike McGoldrick and the Treacherous Orchestra, January 24
  • Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson, January 25
  • “New Voices,” Ross Ainslie, January 25
  • Barluath, January 30

Celtic Connections runs from January 15th to February 1st at venues across Glasgow, including the National Piping Centre.

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