Norman Matheson, 1932-2022
Norman Matheson, the piobaireachd aficionado and long-time pupil of Robert Nicol and Robert Brown – the legendary “Bobs of Balmoral” – died in his ninetieth year on January 10, 2022, after an illness.
Originally from Inverness, Scotland, Matheson started his lessons with Nicol as a young man, and eventually gained instruction from Brown, and had the foresight to record many of his lessons on a reel-to-reel recorder, amassing a large number of tapes that he would eventually make public in a 10-volume series of Masters of Piobaireachd commercial recordings.
A professional physician, Matheson never competed except as an occasional “amateur” in Royal Scottish Pipers Society events. He eventually became a judge of the highest levels of solo piping competition until the early 1990s, and was regularly on the benches at Braemar, the Northern Meeting and other events in the north of Scotland.
Norman Matheson was one of a dwindling number of direct links to the teachings of Brown and Nicol and their instructional ceol mor lineage to John MacDonald of Inverness, but his thoughtful efforts to preserve their tuition with technology opened the pre-internet doors to a wider appreciation of their interpretations.
On behalf of the piping and drumming world, we extend our condolences to Norman Matheson’s friends and family at this sad time.