Between 1948 and 1990, when he retired from competition, a hush fell whenever Donald MacPherson stepped onto the platform to perform. His mastery has set the benchmark of excellence in Highland bagpiping for generations.
Donald was born in Glasgow in 1922. He was taught the pipes by his father, Iain MacPherson, who himself was a well known piper, and also a pupil of the famous John MacDougall Gillies. As a young piper Donald won all the amateur competitions and this success was to be continued in an unprecedented way in professional competition.
For many pipers the Argyllshire Gathering in Oban and the Northern Meeting in Inverness are considered to be the premier competitions. 1948 Donald competed for the first time at the Argyllshire Gathering and won both the Gold Medal and Senior Piobaireachd on the same day, which was only the second time this double had been won at Oban. In 1954 this feat was to be repeated at the Northern Meeting – the first time in history that the double had been won there.
Donald has won the Senior Piobaireachd at Oban a remarkable fifteen times, with a period of five wins in succession and another of three wins in succession. At Inverness he has won the Clasp three times, and in addition to this he has also won the Masters March, Strathspey & Reel on six occasions. Such an amazing competitive record in unlikely ever to be equalled.
As well as having a hugely successful competitive career, Donald is renowned as a composer, teacher and respected piping adjudicator. He is indeed a legendary figure in piping.
Donald MacPherson appears on Vol II of the 1996 Piping Centre Recital Series (COMD2067) available on Temple Records.