Alasdair Gillies 1963-2011

Alasdair Gillies died suddenly on the morning of August 27, 2011, at the age of 47.

Alasdair’s successes are well documented and too lengthy to list here but it is worth reminding ourselves what a prodigious talent he was. Alasdair won every event he entered at the Northern Meeting in Inverness in 1986.

He won the Inverness Former Winners MSR 11 times between 1986 to 2005, and in 2002, he won the Glenfiddich Championship MSR for the sixth time.

He won the Glenfiddich Championship three times, both Highland Society of London Gold Medals and the Clasp at Inverness.

Piper & Drummer magazine named Alasdair as the best piper of the 20th century.

He formerly served 17 years as piper and Pipe Major with the Queen’s Own Highlanders, preparing recruits to be regimental pipers. He latterly competed with the Spirit of Scotland pipe band comprised of the world’s top solo players who competed at the 2008 World Pipe Band Championships and featured in the documentary On the Day.


“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

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

 “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

Perhaps more importantly Alasdair was a charming, quiet, unassuming man whose modesty belied his stature and standing within the piping community.The Eagle Pipers would like to send their condolences to Alasdair’s family and as a tribute to him tomorrow nights piobaireachd, played by Cameron Drummond, will be dedicated in his memory.

Euan Anderson

Hon P/M


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