Gordon was a compulsive composer and left a wealth of tunes many of which are now firmly established in the international pipe band and solo repertoire. Some of his tunes are available to hear in our video galleries.
Some of the words used to describe Gordon Duncan include 'genius', 'fearlessly innovative' and 'a national treasure', but at heart he was an unassuming country lad with a passion for music.
While Gordon's life was cut short, the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust works to continue his legacy by encouraging participation in, the study and composition of, and innovation in, traditional music.
ABOUT GORDON DUNCAN
Gordon lived in in the town of Pitlochry in Perthshire, Scotland, and was widely regarded as one of the most skilled and innovative traditional music performers and composers of modern times. While steeped in the art of traditional highland piping, his approach to his music was imaginative, fresh and at times radical, to the extent that his influence can be heard within an entire generation of younger musicians across Scotland and well beyond.
Gordon died in December 2005, aged 41.
Feedback from some of the musicians and composers who received funding from the Trust recently:
The Kilmarnock Pipe Band would like to say a MASSIVE thanks to the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust for funding our 6 o’clock club for a whole year, where our younger members get extra training and work towards SCQF piping and drumming exams. We are incredibly grateful to GDMT, this makes a huge difference to our young people and a huge difference to our band. Thank you!!!
I am very grateful to the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust for their support towards my Master’s studies in Traditional Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. Receiving this funding has made a huge difference to my studies and my life – it has lightened the load of the financial part of studying a Master’s degree. Beyond the financial element, the funding has allowed me to fulfil my ambition of studying at the Conservatoire and make the most of the surroundings to collaborate and learn from so many amazing people. The diversity of the Conservatoire means that the potential… [read more] “Chris Gray”
The GDMT already generously covered the fees for Pete Clark and Hannah Fisher to deliver two workshops for the school. These were incredibly well received and had a real impact on the children who were able to participate. The youth musical thread running through anniversary celebrations also includes:
- New pipe tune “Proceed with Honour” composed for the anniversary was played as HRH the Earl of Wessex enters Dunkeld Cathedral for the 450th anniversary service.
- New fiddle tune composed for the anniversary by Pete Clark. Pete played three variations of his new tune “The Royal School of Dunkeld” to the… [read more] “Royal School of Dunkeld”
Buchan Pipe Band celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020. To commemorate the occasion, and as part of its vision for the future, the band started a development band. Providing education in all aspects of pipe band musicianship and the potential for progression to the highest levels, the band draws players, young and old, from throughout the NE and Moray. The committee are grateful to the Gordon Duncan Memorial trust for the awarding of a grant in February 2020 to assist with early funding. The award was used to provide individually tailored learning materials and tuition for each discipline. We would… [read more] “Buchan Pipe Band”
Bobby has had a very successful year. It’s all been with your help. He has been overall Best piper in many competitions in his age group. A first place MSR at the Northern Meeting. A first place at the MOD. Young piper of the year Piobaireachd champion at Benbecula. Chosen to play in Pipe Idol one of the 16 pipers throughout the world. A fourth place in the Argyllshire Gathering under 22 yrs at 13 years of age. Winner of all events at the North Uist Highland games and the Brechin RSPB event in Dundee. Champion piper at the Highlands and… [read more] “Robert W Allen”
I am delighted to be sharing a good news story about Dundee City Pipe Band which was featured in todays Courier about Dundee City Pipe Band https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/dundee/1182656/dundee-city-pipe-band-recognised-with-award-at-championships/ We got a wee mention in the Glasgow Herald yesterday, following the presentation of the award on Sunday in Kilmarnock at the Scottish Schools Pipes & Drums Trust Competition of the Eilidh Macleod Endeavour Award. Attached images are of the band, and a very special young lady Shelby Smith along with Pipe Major Bryson and her Dad Scott who is mentioned in the press release and who nominated the… [read more] “Dundee City Pipe Band”
During a year of continued Band development, one notable area of success has been the growth in numbers of new young members, progressing our ambition to form a Novice Juvenile band. This encouraging process has been supported by a small team of able and enthusiastic tutors, some from outwith band membership. The generous Trust sponsorship has enabled us to meet the cost of this training, and to feel confidence in the continuing progress of this project. We would like to extend our grateful thanks.
I write to you to express my gratitude for supporting me financially in 2011/2012 during my studies at Berkeley College of Music, Boston, USA. The venture would not have been possible without your support and I am eternally grateful to you for accepting my funding application. I have since been appointed tutor in Practical Musicianship, Theory and Composition at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and I am currently recording and performing with leading Scottish musicians such as Duncan Chisholm, Jarlath Henderson, Adam Sutherland, Ross Ainslie and Gary Innes. I gained a huge amount of knowledge and experience in piano and… [read more] “Hamish Napier”
Pianist, Singer, Flautist, Composer & Educator.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
I would like to provide you with some feedback on the year 2020 and how the award from ‘The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust’, has helped me and made a difference in advancing my piping career. The year 2020 was not what I was hoping for in piping. I think everyone’s plans became scuppered. Although, my year still managed to be eventful and successful, it was different from the last few years, and I had to become much more adaptable. For example, with Zoom lessons and online piping competitions. Furthermore, I was fortunate enough to become ‘The under 18 yrs, overall… [read more] “Bobby Allen”
Up until now any tuition that Warren had, whether it be at school through the Kilmarnock Schools Pipe Band or Kilmarnock Pipe Band, focused on his piping as a band player. Whereas this funding from the GDMT allowed him to receive tuition that concentrated on him as a solo piper. The tunes that he was focusing on during this time were solely his choice, which in turn expanded his repertoire and increase his confidence and knowledge as a solo piper. Without the funding this would not of been possible. Thank you very much for investing in this young players future.
This is just a quick line from the Skye Youth Pipe Band to update you following the grant support from the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust earlier this year. We used the grant to buy drum tutor books (The Drummers Launch Pad Study Unit 1) from Elixir for our 21 drumming pupils in February. 15 out of our 21 pupils are still going strong. 6 snare drummers have progressed enough to join the Band and have received their band uniforms. A number of pupils have also started attending our weekly Development Band practice, which feeds gradually into the youth band. The 6 top snare pupils and our 2 tenor drummers… [read more] “Skye Youth Pipe Band”
A huge thank you to the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust from NAPDA for giving us funding in May 2019. This money has been used for specialised teaching materials and to pay for PDQB Exams for those receiving tuition (which we have 5 ready to sit this Easter). The funding also went to advertising materials such as fliers and branded clothing to help get people through the door. After nearly a year of running we are currently up to 20 learners all at different stages. Without the help and support from the Trust, NAPDA would never have taken off the ground… [read more] “North Ayrshire Piping & Drumming Academy”
Dundee City Pipe Band & Youth Music Initiative (DCPB) SCIO DCPB are a fully inclusive Pipe Band; our membership comprises mixed ages and abilities from the board of Trustees through to the playing members of the band. We are a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, established in 2017 by a young Piper with lived experience of facing barriers in accessing Pipe Bands due to his learning disability and Autism. Our mission is to provide accessible music tuition that allows all participants to experience learning success and engagement with Scottish culture and heritage through the playing of Pipes and Drums. We nurture… [read more] “Dundee City Pipe Band & Youth Music Inititative SCIO”
On behalf of the children and Board of Management of Govan Schools Pipes & Drums Association I would like to thank you and the Trustees of the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust most sincerely for your extremely generous donation which I confirm receipt of into the GSPDA bank account on 25th August. This money will be put to the most practical of uses of providing free bagpipe and drum tuition to approximately 100 disadvantaged children in Govan Schools each month. GSPDA remains very busy during the summer months having played at the Ibrox Fun Run, the Govan Fair, the Govan Gaelic… [read more] “Govan Schools Pipes & Drums”
Thank you so much for your email, it was a great way to start our day and your support is so very, very appreciated. We are at the start of a very long journey and getting off the ground is the hardest part. I’m so happy that the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust is supporting us at this crucial stage. Your fantastic contribution will go towards the cost of books and allow us to deliver what we intend to be an amazing programme. I assure you that all our students as they progress through the learning journey will learn about Gordon… [read more] “EPIC East Ayrshire Pipe Band Academy”
The Vale has been the recipient of numerous Grants from the GDMT for which which we are extremely grateful. What makes it even more special is the great link between the Vale and Gordon. We had the great privilege of playing with him as he evolved as a World Class Piper, and playing in our ranks on many great occasions. The latest Funding grant was used to buy Digital Chanters to allow us to continue to teach on line and within the Covid Restrictions. We appreciate the great support.
The funding Kenzie has received firm the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust has had a dramatic impact on him in a short period of time. Thanks to his online tutor, Stuart Liddell, his confidence has grown from strength to strength. Stuart has been working with Kenzie on some technical stuff and marching. Kenzie is currently learning a pibroch and a horn pipe and jig. Kenzie would always be shy to play in front of people however this has changed in a short period of time. Kenzie is looking forward to this coming season with Elgin and District Pipe Band and competing… [read more] “Kenzie Stephen”
I am the convenor and event organizer for the Kinlochard junior bagpipe solo’s, an annual piping competition in the Trossachs to promote the culture of Great Highland bagpiping for youngsters up to the age of 18yrs. The Trust has been fantastic for attracting competitors from all over Scotland and top judges to the event. The support of the Trust allows us to provide prize money and prizes for entrants. It is a traditional piping competition with a modern twist as one of the rounds includes Gordon Duncan tunes. The Trust also kindly provides merchandise for all of the competitors. The… [read more] “The Kinlochard Gathering Junior solo bagpipe competition”
One of the biggest losses of the long Covid lockdown has been not being able to play music with the Fiddle Group. Enthusiasm for Zoom sessions began to drop and the ceilidh band was unable to practice until we found a way of playing online without the usual problem of sound latency. We now use a platform called JamKazam. The GDMT helped meet the cost of the audio equipment for the younger players and we now have weekly ceilidh band practices. Here is what some of the band members have said:
- “JamKazam has really encouraged me to continue playing… [read more] “Blackford Fiddle Group (Perthshire)”
Thank you very very much! This is massive for me and will go a long way towards supporting my studies. I’m very grateful for this and can confirm I’ve received the payment.
The year 2019 has been a great year in piping. I have had a full year of tuition from my teacher Willie Morrison at Otago Street, Piping Centre, Glasgow. I have played in many events and competitions throughout Scotland and the Isles. This year I have improved from last years total of first place piping results from 34 to 55. I have also had clean sweeps, such as winning all events at the ‘Atholl Gathering’ and others from February through to December. My attainment in piping has also been successful. This year I have passed level 6 and the results… [read more] “Bobby Allen”
I am hugely grateful to the GDMT for their funding support. Beyond the financial support awarded towards my project, there was real interest and encouragement from the trust in my desire to publish a second collection of bagpipe music. This gave me much confidence in the project, and a real boost to get stuck in to all that self-publishing a tune book entails. I am pleased to say my book, EAT SLEEP PIPE REPEAT has been very well received since its launch. I hope in the years to come many tunes from the book will have found their way into… [read more] “Kyle Warren”
The musical activities in Dunkeld and Birnam, sponsored by the GDMT, were a great success. Andrew Finn Magill and Seán Gray performed for a whole school assembly at the Royal School of Dunkeld on their Founder’s Day. They got a rapturous welcome from the children and the Trust was thanked publicly by Julie Menzies, the Headteacher, who also gratefully acknowledged the support provided by the GDMT for music in the school last year. At Rivendell Care Home, residents and carers all loved the music. When I mentioned the Trust, one of the residents who hadn’t said anything up to that… [read more] “Andrew Finn Magill & Sean Gray”
Since receiving of our award in April 2017 we were able to cover a large amount of tuition during 2017, chiefly for our drummers. Through this, we were able to compete in a number of minor competitions and in the four mainland “Majors”, qualifying for the Grade 4B final in two of them. There is no doubt that the Trust’s generous award helped greatly in our continuing development. We now have a stable band of over twenty players, and would anticipate further progress in the coming season.
This competition was first held in Stornoway In April 1994. It was organised by the Lewis and Harris Piping Society to commemorate the life and work of one of the 20th century’s most famous pipers. Donald MacLeod was born in Stornoway in 1916 and died in Glasgow in 1982 aged 66. He spent a large part of his life in the Army, and his escapades in the Second World War are well documented in Military History. He was a world class player, and won all the top awards, some many times over, including eight clasps to the Gold Medal for… [read more] “PM Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition”
Before the onset of current restrictions, Coupar Angus Pipe Band had a very successful recruiting drive aimed at players of all levels. The outcome enabled us to plan on presenting two bands for the 2020 season, one in Grade 4 and the other in Novice Juvenile. A lot of training would be required, assisted significantly by the generous grant from the Trust. Despite the frustrations of lockdown, the task has continued through 2020, mainly concentrating on the youngsters. Much of the piping instruction was organised internally, with the remainder and virtually all the drumming being conducted by external resources, funded… [read more] “Coupar Angus Pipe Band”
With the award I have had Highland Bagpipe tutoring with Fraser Fifield, which has helped me further develop my style, technique, embellishments and improvisation. I was lucky to get some lessons from such an inspiring person. The award has been really useful as I wouldn’t have been able to get this progressive one to one tutoring locally. I have had a lot of musical commitments to date and up and coming until April/May with my school (Aberdeen City Music School, our annual concert), my National 5 exams and performances with my bands I’m in so I haven’t used all of the award… [read more] “Arthur Coates”
Through sponsorship from the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust, we have continued to develop our tutoring program and have taken a particular focus on encouraging young people of school age to get involved in traditional pipe band music. The photo shows some of our young people playing at an informal performance for Veterans in Dundee as part of their Christmas activities. This was the first time some of our youngsters had taken part in a public performance so a big moment for them and a proud moment for the band 🙂
Huge thanks to the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust for enabling EPIC to begin our pipe band drumming programme. Last year you helped us start ‘Chanters for Children’… now with our ‘Drummer’s Launch Pad’ we are on the way to creating EPIC’s first ever pipe band. We are a grass roots charity working in an area of high deprivation – without your help we really wouldn’t be able to offer this, and our young people would be missing out on such a valuable life experience. From all staff and students at EPIC – thank you so much for giving our community… [read more] “EPIC East Ayrshire Pipe Band Academy”
The donation we got from the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust was used by the Junior section of the band for the hire of four classrooms and hall in Pitlochry High School to teach chanter, drumming on pad, tenor drumming and pipes every Tuesday night. We have a good number attending in each class all making excellent progress and the grant was a great help to us. Many thanks.
This band was developed by Ross Inglis, a young Dundee based piper, who had a vision to start up a new pipe band which would create accessible music education for any individual with an interest on playing pipes and drums regardless of prior knowledge/skill. An inclusive Youth Music Initiative is to sit alongside the Pipe Band, which will provide opportunities to young people, particularly those with additional support needs, to become involved in learning Pipes and Drums. Ross, who has a learning disability and Autism, was awarded a lifetime Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturing & Commerce (RSA)… [read more] “Dundee City Pipe Band & Ross Youth Music Initiative”
We were delighted to have received funding towards expenses for Archie & Flora whilst attending the summer school organised by D2 Percussion. Archie aged 12 is a piper competing within grade 3 of the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band and Flora, 11, plays tenor drum. She has just moved up from the grade 4 band to the grade 3 band having made significant improvement. Both children thoroughly enjoyed their experience at the summer school, Flora was recognised for her progress and was awarded a scholarship from D2 percussion for the 2019 summer school. Overall we are extremely grateful to have… [read more] “Archie & Flora McNab”
I am really thankful for the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust funding which I got the offer earlier this year. I have been studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow for the traditional music piping degree course. The fund from the Trust allowed me to do some extra travelling for competitions and also I went to a piobaireachd workshop in Brittany which is called “Pibroch by the Sea” in Cancale. It was a great opportunity because one of my piobaireachd heroes Jimmy McIntosh came from the US to teach that weekend, he is 93 years old and I got to… [read more] “Chris Lee (from Hong Kong)”
I don’t think I can put into words how thankful I am for your generosity. This opportunity is one I have been dreaming about for a long time and I can promise you both and everyone at the GDMT that I will not waste a single moment of it. I will of course keep you all up-to-date on my experiences there and will be keeping a blog noting my musical adventures on Cape Breton Island. A million and many thanks. A follow up: I am going to struggle condensing my time on Cape Breton Island into a couple of sentences as… [read more] “Robyn Ada Mackay”
Thank you so much for your support at Kilmarnock Pipe Band. It has been absolutely invaluable to our project and our young people. Your funding was used to provide hall hire for the year, to enable us to run ‘the 6 o’clock club’ – an extra two hours per week specifically aimed at developing our young players. During the course of this year the 6 o’clock club has:
- provided 2 hours extra tuition per week specifically for our young people
- provided a full weekend’s intensive tuition specifically for our young people
- been able to deliver focussed individual tuition to… [read more] “Kilmarnock Pipe Band”
The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust award helped me a lot to finish my studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Their huge help gave me the chance to finish my Master of Music, Scottish Music on Highland Bagpipes, focusing only on my studies and my piping. I graduated in July 2019, after spending two year at the Royal Conservatoire. Now, after spending two magic years in Scotland studying piping, playing solo, in folk bands and pipe bands, I’m back in Brittany, France, where I’m doing a last year of studies to be able to teach Highland Bagpipes in a Breton… [read more] “Enora Morice”
Kinlochard Gathering, Junior Solo Piping Competition, held on the fabulous Loch side setting on the 14th July 2019. The standard of piping was brilliant and there were some new faces in the competition. The overall winner was Christopher Happs, second was Bobby Allen, third place went to Josh Esson and fourth Kyle Gordon. The judge was Pipe Major Chris Armstrong. A million thanks to the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust for supporting this Junior Competition. As you can see your banners were flying high!
On behalf of Uddingston Strathclyde Pipe Band (USPB), I would like to thank the Trust for their recent contribution to our progress this year (2019). With the help of the fund, we have seen the playing level of the band progress remarkably and we have exceeded our goal of a mid-table position. While it may not sound much, this is a vast improvement on where the band has been over the last 20 years or so. This funding has allowed the continuation of our tuition for beginner pipers and drummers. The attached pictures show the pleasure generated in such a… [read more] “Uddingston Strathclyde Pipe Band (USPB)”
Garnock Valley Pipes and Drums was established to give young people within the Garnock Valley cluster of schools the opportunity to learn the pipes and drums at not cost to them, ensuring inclusion of all. The tutors ‘toured’ schools in the Garnock Valley teaching young people from P5 upwards to play the pipes and drums. Prior to Covid there were over 100 young people learning the pipes and drums throughout the Garnock Valley. Due to their dedication and commitment, the band played in some major competitions in 2019 including the Worlds. None of this would have been possible without the… [read more] “Garnock Valley Pipes and Drums”
Through the funding I received, via the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust, I was able to move down from the Isle of Skye to Glasgow and follow my dreams by studying Traditional Music at Riverside Music college. Out with the college I performed with the local Ceilidh Trail at Skye Live festival – the funding enabled me to travel back and forth to attend this gig- which was a success! With the college I performed on Celtic Music radio with the band we formed in class and also had a successful gig at the “Blue Arrow” on Succhiehall Street. The funding… [read more] “Finn Macpherson”
I applied as an individual to the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust to help me kit out my students with some Bb chanters. I had been teaching a number of piping students as part of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Junior Programme and the help that the Trust has given me has been invaluable. It has made my students take more of an interest in how the pipes can been used as part of the folk ensemble and has enabled them to take part in group work with the other musicians on the course. In the next few months we will… [read more] “Eddie Seaman”
This year 2018 has been a wonderful year regarding piping and my attainment in exams and performance. From my familiar surroundings in ‘North Lanarkshire’ I have travelled all over Scotland, north, south, east & west, even as far as the ‘Outer Hebrides’ & London. I have had a very successful year in competing UK wide, also in international competitions at the highest level in piping, winning over thirty events. ‘The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust’ has contributed towards my success, attainment and experiences in piping in 2018. With the grant I received from them, this provided me with a positive foundation… [read more] “Bobby Allen”
Thanks to the GDMT for the funding of Archie’s place at the D2 Summer school. The Summer school has been a great experience for Archie, he thoroughly enjoyed the workshops and camaraderie with the other young musicians and instructors.
Archie feels the Summer school was a great benefit to him and he continues to make good progress in his piping technique, his most recent achievements were at the City of Brechin Solo’s winning 1st place in the u/15 MSR, 1st place in the 6/8 march and 2nd place in the jig and taking the award for Junior Champion Piper.… [read more] “Archie McNab”
The Vale of Atholl Pipe Band would like to thank the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust for the funding we received in 2019. This funding was used to pay for our practice facilities in Pitlochry High School for the learners in our tuition programme. This is such a help to us as it enables us to book several rooms for chanter tuition, side and tenor drumming tuition and the learners on their pipes as they progress in to the Grade 4 band. We’ve also now added Drum Major tuition.
The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust made an award to me in March 2020, just before the lockdown, and it covered all my travel costs for a number of months while I was moving back home to Skye from Glasgow to complete my HNC (Traditional music performance) online, which I’m very grateful for. Although the lockdown put a halt on live music I was able to purchase recording equipment, with help from the GDMT, so I could remotely collaborate with friends. With the GDMT funding I was able to pay for online tuition prior to my successful audition for the Royal… [read more] “Finn Macpherson”
Our Band is relatively new and therefore incurred many one off start up costs, i.e. uniforms instruments etc. The Kind donation from the Gordon Duncan trust was most gratefully received at a time when we were to say the least nearly skint. We have continued to recruit 16 pipers,10 drummers and took several prizes in grade 4b this season plus played at several highland games and other high profile events. Next year we plan to compete at grade 4a and 4b in some competitions and also putting together a full engagement list.
Last week Pete Clark and Hannah Fisher delivered two workshops at The Royal School of Dunkeld to mark the school’s 450th anniversary. Alice Grimson, the teacher in charge, described them as “amazing”. They were enjoyed by lots of children as you can see in the photo. Pete shared his new composition, named for the school, and taught it to some of the young fiddlers. The school is very grateful to the GDMT for making all this possible (see the acknowledgement on Facebook @RSD450). Many thanks to all trustees for supporting this activity. It was a great success.
The support we have received from the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust has been invaluable. Not only have they provided the funding to enable us to buy tutor books for our project, but they are always so supportive and encouraging, and offer help and advice in many more ways. The young people in our project come from highly deprived backgrounds and it is down to organisations such as the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust that they have the chance to learn at all without facing exclusion due to financial barriers. Thank you GDMT – you are literally changing lives and giving us… [read more] “EPIC East Ayrshire Pipe Band Academy”
We have just had the first of two workshops funded by yourselves at the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust. This was a great success, giving the members tutoring of the Shetland style of fiddle music from Ross Couper. Also cello tutoring from Emma Tomlinson which adds depth and variety to the final sets that were created from the day. We now have a new set of Shetland tunes which will be incorporated in our repertoire for future concerts. We are grateful to the Trust for giving us the opportunity to expand the repertoire of our members. The second workshop is planned… [read more] “Tayside Young Fidlers”
MONETARY SPONSORSHIPS AWARDED
GDMT EVENTS HELD
SOLO TUNES PUBLISHED
The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust has 12 trustees, 7 of whom have been trustees from the creation of the Trust in 2006. Safe hands as we work to continue Gordon's legacy.