Bio

Alasdair is one of the most successful solo piping competitors on the circuit today. He was taught to play by his father, Norman. His other tutors were P/M Iain M. Morrison and Captain Andrew Pitkeathly. He has won both Highland Society of London’s Gold medals (Argyllshire Gathering 1989, Northern Meeting 2004), the Senior Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering, and the Gold Clasp at the Northern Meeting. He has won the Former Winners March, Strathspey & Reel event at the Northern Meeting a record 11 times, has won the overall at the Glenfiddich Championship 3 times, with a record 6 wins in the MSR event.

Alasdair GilliesAlasdair was a military piper in the British Army for 17 years (1980-1997). He was the last Pipe Major of the Queen’s Own Highlanders and first Pipe Major of The Highlanders. He gained a distinguished pass on the Pipe Majors course in 1986, and is holder of the Graduate certificate and Senior Teachers certificate from the Institute of Piping. His military career saw him serve in U.K. Falkland Islands (1982), Northern Ireland (3.5 years), Germany, Desert Storm (1991), Belize, and Kenya.

In 1997, he took up a position in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to teach the Carnegie Mellon University Pipe Band. The university offers a performance degree in bagpiping. Alasdair taught this until 2009.

In the summer months, Alasdair teaches at the campus sessions of Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming. He is a long-serving member of the Winter Storm and Mastery of Scottish Arts faculty.

Alasdair is featured on numerous recordings. His solo recordings include Volume 12 of the World’s Greatest Pipers series, The Pipers of Distinction series, and a new CD ROM by Ceol Mor Software, titled March Strathspey & Reel As Played By Alasdair Gillies. This features an audio recording with the written score exactly as played on the audio. In 2007, Alasdair released another solo album titled Lochbroom.

Press:

Alasdair Gillies

“Perhaps the greatest MSR piper ever.”
Piper & Drummer magazine, Canada

“ The best piper in the world. Alasdair’s competitive record in Scotland and the United States is without parallel in the history of piping.”
Pipe Major John D. Burgess MBE, FSA, Piper to the Northern Meeting, Piper to The Royal Celtic Society

“ The most noted of all solo pipers in Scotland, and famous around the world.”
The Chronicle, Australia

“ Solo piping at its best.”
FolkWorld, UK

“ The greatest. Alasdair Gillies is in a league by himself. The Michael Jordan of piping.”
James H. McIntosh MBE, former Director of Bagpipe Music, Carnegie Mellon University

“ A splendid performance.”
The Times, UK

“ His performance was quite magnificent. The ‘cognoscenti’ all agreed that we heard something quite special.”
Anthony Coutts-Britton, SHAPE-Macallan Burns Society, Belgium

“ A dazzling, multi-tempoed set.”
The Scotsman, UK

“ One of today’s most successful competitive pipers.”
The Voice, USA

“ The best piper of the 20th century.”
Voted by the readers of Piper & Drummer magazine

Prizes:

Alasdair Gillies

Northern Meeting

1981:
B-Grade March

1983:
A-Grade March

1985:
Silver Star Former Winners MSR

1986:
Silver Medal
Silver Star Former Winners MSR
A-Grade Strathspey & Reel
Hornpipe & Jig

1987:
Hornpipe & Jig

1989:
Silver Star Former Winners MSR
Tunes: John MacDonald's Welcome to South Uist, George Ross's Farewell to the Black Watch, Piper's Bonnet, Tulloch Castle, John Morrison, The Smith

1991:
Silver Star Former Winners MSR

1992:
Clasp
Silver Star Former Winners MSR

1994:
Silver Star Former Winners MSR

1996:
Silver Star Former Winners MSR

1997:
Silver Star Former Winners MSR

1998:
Silver Star Former Winners MSR

2002:
Silver Star Former Winners MSR
Tunes: John MacDonald of Glencoe, John MacDonald's Welcome to South Uist, Inveraray Castle, John Roy Stewart, Johnnie MacDonald's Reel, The Cockerel in the Creel

2003:
Silver Star Former Winners MSR

2004:
Highland Society of London Gold Medal
Tune: Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon

Argyllshire Gathering

Alasdair Gillies

1985:
A-Grade March
A-Grade Strathspey & Reel

1987:
Former Winners MSR

1989:
Highland Society of London Gold Medal
Tune: Lament for the Visocount of Dundee

1992:
Senior Piobaireachd

1994:
Senior Piobaireachd
Tune: Lament for MacLeod of Colbecks

1997:
Former Winners MSR
Tunes: Mrs. John MacColl, Tulloch Castle, Mrs MacPherson

2007:
Former Winners MSR
Tunes: David Ross, Inveraray Castle, Broadford Bay

Glenfiddich Championship

Alasdair Gillies

1985:
MSR
Tune: Clan MacColl, Caber Feidh, Miss Proud

1991:
Overall Champion
MSR
Tune: Ross-shire Volunteers, Caber Feidh, Miss Proud

1994:
MSR
Tune: Mrs John MacColl, Piper's Bonnet, John Morrison

1996:
Overall Champion
MSR
Tune: Mrs. John MacColl, Tulloch Castle, John Morrison

1998:
Overall Champion
MSR

2002:
MSR
Tune: Mrs John MacColl, Delvinside, DJS Murray

Livingstone Sr. Memorial Invitational

1995:
Overall Champion

2000:
Overall Champion

2001:
Overall Champion