Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies, 1963-2011
Alasdair Gillies was one of Scotland’s finest musicians of modern times. Born in Glasgow into a piping family, his famous father Norman competed successfully at all the major games throughout the 60's. The family moved to Ullapool in Scotland's West Highlands in the early 70's when Norman became a piping teacher with the schools in Wester Ross. Alasdair joined the army as a boy soldier and blossomed through the piping ranks including distinguished honours at the Pipe major's course at Edinburgh Castle.
Alasdair had seventeen years of experience as piper and Pipe Major with the Queen's Own Highlanders, serving for many years as instructor to prepare recruits to be Regimental Pipers. In addition, as one of the world's very best solo bagpipers, he had an astounding number of successes at piping competitions over the years. For example, he won every event he entered at the Northern Meeting in Inverness in 1986. He won the Inverness Former Winners MSR ten times between 1986-2002, more than any other piper in history! In 2002 he won the Glenfiddich Championship MSR for the sixth time.
On leaving the army in 1997, he accepted a teaching post at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He taught the university pipe band until 2009, and worked hard to successfully establish their unique performance degree in bagpiping.
Alasdair Gillies features on 'The Piping Centre 1996 Recital Series - Vol I' (Jack Lee & PM Alasdair Gillies, Temple Records COMD2064).