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:
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… [read more] “Skye Youth Pipe Band”
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… [read more] “Kilmarnock Pipe Band”
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… [read more] “Kenzie Stephen”
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… [read more] “Robyn Ada Mackay”
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… [read more] “Dundee City Pipe Band & Ross Youth Music Initiative”
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… [read more] “Chris Gray”
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… [read more] “Chris Lee (from Hong Kong)”
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… [read more] “Vale of Atholl Pipe 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… [read more] “EPIC East Ayrshire Pipe Band Academy”
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… [read more] “Coupar Angus Burgh Pipe Band”
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… [read more] “Govan Schools Pipes & Drums”
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… [read more] “Eddie Seaman”
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… [read more] “Uddingston Strathclyde Pipe Band (USPB)”
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… [read more] “Archie & Flora McNab”
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… [read more] “Warren Graham”
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… [read more] “Vale of Atholl Pipe Band”
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… [read more] “Tayside Young Fidlers”
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… [read more] “Royal School of Dunkeld”
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… [read more] “Kinlochard Gathering, Junior Solo Piping Competition”
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… [read more] “Grampian District Pipe Band”
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… [read more] “Dundee City Pipe Band & Youth Music Inititative SCIO”
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… [read more] “Andrew Finn Magill & Sean Gray”
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… [read more] “Dundee City 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… [read more] “Enora Morice”
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… [read more] “Archie McNab”
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… [read more] “Finn Macpherson”
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,… [read more] “Hamish Napier”
Pianist, Singer, Flautist, Composer & Educator.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
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… [read more] “Kilmarnock Pipe Band”
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… [read more] “Coupar Angus Burgh Pipe Band”
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… [read more] “Bobby Allen”
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… [read more] “The Kinlochard Gathering Junior solo bagpipe competition”
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… [read more] “Arthur Coates”
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… [read more] “PM Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition”
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… [read more] “Robert W Allen”
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… [read more] “EPIC East Ayrshire Pipe Band Academy”
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… [read more] “North Ayrshire Piping & Drumming Academy”
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… [read more] “Dundee City Pipe Band”
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… [read more] “EPIC East Ayrshire Pipe Band Academy”
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,… [read more] “Pete Clarke & Hannah Fisher”
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,… [read more] “Bobby Allen”
MONETARY SPONSORSHIPS AWARDED
GDMT EVENTS HELD
SOLO TUNES PUBLISHED
The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust has 11 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.