More Tributes Paid to the Late Andrew Wright

A large number of readers have left messages of condolence on our Comments section. This morning the tributes have continued to arrive and we thought it best, given Andrew’s undoubted status in the piping world, to carry them with more prominence. We also include additional photographs from his long life in piping.

Allan Hamilton of Pipers Persuasion: ‘We are sad at hearing of the passing of our friend Andrew. I had known him since circa. 1962 when I was fortunate to play with him and other famous pipers in the Red Hackle Pipe Band.

‘Andrew was a serious piper who studied under the best and practised long and hard to become one of the most knowledgeable pipers, achieving great success in major competitions with two Gold Medals.

Andrew during his Pipers’ Persuasion interviews

‘He expressed himself trenchantly, especially about piobaireachd, based on many years of learning and studying with the best. Andrew was the stalwart oak in the forest and through his teaching with adept pupils his music lives on and on.

‘Pipers’ Persuasion has today, re-edited and refurbished the Nov 2011 interview at Andrew’s home in Dunblane and we hope that everyone will take much joy and information from that. We pass our sincere condolences to Isabel and family.’

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Andrew Carlisle, Professor of Piping at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh: ‘Very sad to hear about the passing of my first piobaireachd instructor and friend, the gentleman and great Andrew Wright. It was on Andrew’s visits to the Northern Ireland Piping and Drumming School on Templemore Avenue, Belfast, in the mid-1990s that I heard piobaireachd for the first time.

‘In those days you could have pretty much counted the piobaireachd players in Northern Ireland on one hand – it was Andrew’s influence and frequent visits that certainly helped change this and a big part of why there are multiple pipers from all over Ireland winning top piobaireachd prizes today.

‘Needless to say, at only around 8-9 years old, Andrew’s instruction, playing and singing quickly had me hooked on the piobaireachd bug and I would remain a student of his for the next 16 years until I moved to the United States.

Andrew is far right in this photograph from the Couer d’Alene Summer School, Idaho, 1974. Others pictured are, from the left, Col. Jock McEwing the organiser, P/M Bob Hardie and John Wilson, Toronto and Edinburgh

‘Andrew was always very kind to me. He would often send me recordings of new tunes to be working on and we would post cassette tapes back and forth to each other between lessons. In addition to the instruction I received during his four weekend visits to Belfast each winter, Andrew and his lovely wife, Isobel would kindly put me up in their home in Dunblane when I would come for 1:1 lessons from across the Irish Sea.

‘For this kindness, I will be forever grateful. As a teacher, Andrew had some amazing and creative ways of putting piobaireachd expression across – it was all about smoothness, the treatment of the short notes, and making every phrase as beautiful as possible.

Andrew competing on a sunny day at Oban in 1979. The judge is Dr Robert Frater

‘Many of his students will, I’m sure recall his analogies of ‘waiting at the bus stop’ and ‘the clumsy waiter with the bowl of soup’, as well as his helpful (and difficult) finger technique exercises.

‘I will cherish my time with the great man and will never forget the amazing tone he would routinely get with his old Lawrie bagpipe. Without his influence and expert instruction, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. Rest in peace. Thoughts and prayers are with Isobel, the entire family and his many students and friends worldwide.’

Anonymous comment: ‘Very sad news to hear. There is little doubt that Andrew was one of the greatest players, teachers and supporters of ceòl mòr in the last 100 years.

‘Back in 2005 a few of us over a dram were discussing how we could further develop piobaireachd teaching for young folk in Argyll. We ended up with yours truly hand shearing 50 sheep to raise funds ‘Due to the generosity of so many people we raised over £5,000.

‘One of the first grants to go out was to the Strachur Piping Society to fund Andrew’s workshops with the young pipers of the society. They could not have had a better teacher.

‘In 2019 l was honoured to be asked to hand out the prizes at the society’s annual competition for young pipers. Andrew’s legacy was there for all to see in a fantastic competition. Rest in peace Andrew.’

Ann Cross: ‘So sad to hear. He was an amazing teacher and was truly an inspiration.’

  • Please see our comments section for earlier tributes.

6 thoughts on “More Tributes Paid to the Late Andrew Wright

  1. I think we thoroughly went through around 35 piobaireachd in 5 winters & I found it really enjoyable sharing the music with him.
    Lovely man, rarely spoke of himself and was genuinely interested in helping pupils.

  2. I got to know Andrew very well through arranging his many trips to Northern Ireland, on behalf of the RSPBANI School, to teach young pipers pibroch and assist them with their solo playing. He was an excellent teacher, quickly getting to know and understand each student but above all he was a true gentleman. He will be remembered fondly by many in Ireland, north and south.

  3. Andrew was teaching at the summerschools at Stirling University in the early 80s. He gave us the Earl of Seaforth and was very patient with us novices and kind and friendly. He told us how he was around the games when he was younger and had not really had great sucess yet. So one day he was preparing and tuning up and could not get his drones really tuned. All of a sudden a gentleman comes up to him and wonders if he could give his drones a wee touch. Tik, tik, tik and they went ping and started to sing. Andrew was amazed and went on to win. The man was, he learned afterwards, Peter Mc Leod!
    At Stirling Andrew also went throu the hornpipe Pat Ewart by Peter Mcleod if i recall right.

    He was also over here in Stockholm for adjutcating and gave a lovely recital with Wilson Young.
    A kind and friendly man who generously gave of his immense knowledge.
    Gustaf von Sivers

    1. Actually Andrew knew the man well having taken lessons from him (Peter MacLeod Jnr) and his father. This event took place at Cowal Games shortly after Andrew had won his Gold Medals. Andrew related this story quite a few times.

  4. Sad indeed. We loose a very nice man and he touched me when he played the lovely tune The Old Woman Lullaby when he came over to Brittany invited by Eric Fressinet and Patrick Molard.
    I have the opportunity to have pibroc’h lessons with him and I’d never forget the way he taught us and I am glad to have got his book about how to play the pibroc’h.
    How thankful we are with him. Condoleances to his family and friends.
    Anne LORE

  5. I had the opportunity to meet Andrew Wight different times, specially in Brittany and Paris (1992) where he played (only Ceol Mor) in front of hundreds of people who listened in full respect. As he said afterwards: “When I was playing, I could hear the silence.” Andrew Wright was a brilliant piper, a great connoisseur of Ceol Mor and an accomplished genleman, with this humility which is the sign of real artists. Bless him.

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