Balmoral Schools Announce Summer Line Up/ NPC Duncan Johnstone Concert

The promoters of the Balmoral Schools in the USA have sent this: ‘Save the Dates – July 18-23! This summer, the Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming will come to you online, with a wider variety of classes, more guest instructors, more one-on-one tutoring, and plenty of other exciting programming.

‘An all-new Drumming Program is in the works, with 2021 guest drumming instructors to be announced shortly. 

‘The fee for the weeklong session is $375.00 USD. Refer new students and you’ll receive $50 off the price of the workshop for every new student who attends. 

‘Special deal for band members! Bring at least a few members of your pipe band to Balmoral and you’ll receive a highly customizable band clinic, tailored to your band’s needs, as part of your Online Summer School.

‘Our list of guest piping instructors includes these and more: Pipe Major Robert Mathieson (Scotland) has been at the forefront of piping for over 30 years. Having been a young piper in Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band, he took over as Pipe Major from 1987-2010, leading the band to win over 30 major grade one championship titles, including five World titles, as well as nine Champion of Champions titles. He is the only Pipe Major to have won the worlds five times playing his own compositions and arrangements, opening each winning medley with one of his own tunes.

Bruce Gandy (Hallifax, Nova Scotia) was a member of the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band when they were the first non-Scottish pipe band to win the World Pipe Band Championships in 1987. His solo awards include the Canadian Gold Medal, Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting, Gold Medal at Oban, and Bratach Gorm. He is a three-time winner of the MacCrimmon Memorial Cairn for Piobaireachd at the Vancouver Indoor Meet and a six-time Metro Cup winner.

Andrew Carlisle (Northern Ireland/Pittsburgh) has won the A Grade Strathspey & Reel at Oban, the A Grade Piobaireachd & Overall at the Cowal Highland Gathering, US Gold Medals for both light music and piobaireachd, and three All-Ireland titles at senior level. He’s a three-time winner of the Macallan Trophy at Lorient, Brittany, France. Andrew holds the prestigious positions of Professor of Music and Director of Piping at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.

‘Visit our website at for more information on instructors and programming.’

 A Celebration of Duncan Johnstone and His Music

In March 2020, the annual Duncan Johnstone Memorial Piping Competition was one of the first piping events to be cancelled as the effects of the pandemic took hold. With the event postponed for a second year due to the continuing government restrictions, the National Piping Centre has created a new event to celebrate the life and works of Duncan Johnstone, the hugely influential piper, teacher and composer. 

‘A Celebration of Duncan Johnstone and His Music’ is a pre-recorded evening of music and interviews with students of Duncan’s and fans of his music. The concert will feature solo piping from John Dew who was the last overall winner of the competition in 2019.

The NPC’s Director of Piping Finlay MacDonald has put together a band with fiddler Marie Fielding, founder member of Capercaillie and Director of Celtic Connections Donald Shaw, and guitarist Steve Byrne, showing us why Duncan’s music is so highly regarded in the wider traditional music scene. 

Dougie Pincock, former piper with the Battlefield Band and Director of the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, will also perform from his home in Plockton, as well as discussing his years of tutelage with the great man, himself. 

Finlay said: ‘We wanted to make sure that we continue to honour and celebrate Duncan’s contribution to the piping world. This event showcases the depth and breadth of his music, but also gives us an opportunity to hear more about the man himself through those who had a personal connection to him and have been influenced by his body of work.’

Helen Urquhart, Marketing Officer for the NPC, said: ‘This event will be premiered online on Saturday 10th April from 7pm, and tickets are £10 to watch this fantastic night of tunes and interviews, and can be purchased online at The National Piping Centre website through Inplayer, the same software that was used for Piping Live! and the Glenfiddich Piping Championship. After the event, you can rewatch it for a week until Saturday 17th April. 

Head to to purchase your ticket for this event. 

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