July 18, 2022

Salute on the birth of the late Donald MacPherson at 100 at Piping Live!

Donald MacPherson (left) being presented with the Balvenie Medal for service to piping by Pipe-Major Angus MacDonald at the Glenfiddich Championships. [Photo Derek Maxwell]
Donald MacPherson was one of the art’s greatest competitors and teachers, revolutionizing the standard of tuning stability in the 1950s, and the Piping Live! Glasgow International Festival of Piping will mark the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth at a special event on August 10th at the National Piping Centre.

“Donald MacPherson: A Celebration” will showcase compositions and film clips from the great piper’s life, with three of his pupils – Douglas Murray, David Shedden and Iain Speirs – contributing their playing talents and another long-time pupil, Highland Society of London Gold Medallist Stuart Shedden emceeing the event.

The concert will be live-streamed as part of the festival’s pay-per-view offerings and will be available to watch until August 21st.

During a competitive solo piping career that lasted nearly 50 years, Donald MacPherson won a record nine Clasps for piobaireachd at the Northern Meeting at Inverness, Scotland, and an astonishing 15 Senior Piobaireachd titles at the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban. He gained his fifteenth Senior Piobaireachd trophy at the age of 64. Remarkably, MacPherson left the piping scene for many years in the 1970s to learn to play the piano.

MacPherson’s compositions are relatively few but include some all-time gems like the strathspey “Mrs. Donald MacPherson” and the classic jig, “The Curlew.”

Tickets are £16 and available online.

His set of ivory and nickel-silver R.G. Lawrie drones from the 1930s were sold at auction shortly before his death in 2012 for nearly $50,000.

In 2005, we published Donald MacPherson: pipes|drums Interview in several parts.





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