The Gordon Duncan Memorial Solo Piping Competition

The first Gordon Duncan Memorial Solo Piping Competition was held, as part of the Celtic Connections Festival, on the 28th January 2007 at the Holiday Inn-City West in Glasgow. Gordon had been one of the musicians who performed as part of Celtic Connections since the start. Formally and informally he would be playing.

The Gordon Duncan Solo Piping Trophy
The Gordon Duncan Solo Piping Trophy

In memory of Gordon the Gordon Duncan Solo Piping Competition was created. Competitors were invited from Scotland, from Ireland and from Brittany to compete for the Gordon Duncan Trophy which was kindly donated by McCallums Bagpipes (see picture).

Three pipers were invited from each domain and every piper competed in each domain, similar to the long running competitions at the Inter-Celtic Music Festival held in Lorient, Brittany. Gordon himself won the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival Competition, at that time called The MacAllan Trophy. Gordon was an enthusiastic player of Breton and Irish music as well as traditional Scottish music and he would share this love of the music with those who knew him. He was possibly better known in Brittany than in Scotland!

Gordon with the 1st MacAllan Trophy

A tale about Gordon

The two MacAllen Trophies

There was one occasion, after a late night/early morning session, Gordon decided to head home to Pitlochry for a day in the middle of the Celtic Connections Festival. He got on the train at Queen’s Street station, heading for Perth where he would change train to head North to Pitlochry. He got on the train, fell asleep and woke up in Dundee! He waited a while then got a train back from Dundee to Perth. He fell asleep again and ended back at Queen’s Street station. He never made it home but was well rested and went straight back into the music at the Festival!

Pictured: Gordon with his first MacAllan Trophy and the two MacAllan Trophies which he kept like “Wally Dugs” on his mantelpiece!

The Competitors

The details and results of each annual Gordon Duncan Memorial Solo Piping Competition are as follows:

2018

The 2018 competition was held at the National Piping Centre on Sunday 19th August as part of Piping Live! Week. Performances are available to view in the video gallery.

2018 BRETON IRISH SCOTTISH
Performers Enora Morice Kris Coyle Cameron MacDougall
Winners Enora Morice Cameron MacDougall Cameron MacDougall
Judges Gilles Houez &

Maël Sicard-Cras

Margaret Dunn &

Alastair Dunn

R S MacDonald &

Ian G Duncan

The overall winner of the Gordon Duncan Trophy was Cameron MacDougall from Nigg. Professor Gary West presented the prizes. James Beaton was our fear-an-tighe for the competition.

Cameron MacDougall, winner of the Scottish section, Irish section, and Overall WinnerCameron MacDougall with Gary WestEnora Morice with Gary West

2017

The 2017 competition was held at the National Piping Centre on Sunday 13th August as part of Piping Live Week.

2017 BRETON IRISH SCOTTISH
Performers Sylvain Hamon Scott Wallace Connor Sinclair
Winners Sylvain Hamon Connor Sinclair Connor Sinclair
Judges Mael Sicard Margaret Dunn Stuart Samson

The overall winner of the Gordon Duncan Trophy was Connor Sinclair. Gordy Duncan presented the prizes.

The 2017 winners
From left the photo shows Scott Wallace, Gordon Duncan Jr, winner Connor Sinclair, Ian Duncan and Sylvain Hamon.

2016

The 2016 competition was held at the National Piping Centre on Sunday 14th August 2016 as part of Piping Live Week.

2016 BRETON IRISH SCOTTISH
Performers Herve Le Floc’h Robert Watt David Shedden
Winners Herve Le Floc’h Robert Watt Herve Le Floc’h
Judges Sylvain Hamon Margaret Dunn Roddy MacDonald

The overall winner in 2016 was Herve Le Floc’h and the prizes were presented by Gordon Duncan Jr.

2016 winner, Herve Le Floc'h
2016 winner, Herve Le Floc’h

Ali Hutton is seen joining in the celebrations with Herve.

David Shedden receiving his trophy and Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust t-shirts from Gordy Duncan Jr.

Robert Watt receiving his trophy.

2015

The competition was reinstated in 2015 (following three years as Gordon Duncan Memorial Recital) in the National Piping Centre, this time as part of Piping Live Week, held in Glasgow in August each year for the week before the World Pipe band Championships. This competition was held on Sunday 16th August, the day after the World Pipe Band Championships.

BRETON IRISH SCOTTISH
Performers Jordane Guillaux Andrew Carlisle Cameron Drummond
Winners Jordane Guillaux Cameron Drummond Andrew Carlisle
Judges Patrick Molard Margaret Dunn Stuart Samson

The overall winner in 2015 was Andrew Carlisle. The prizes and trophy were sponsored by McCallum Bagpipes.

2014

Ali Hutton playing Gordon Duncan’s pipes.
Ali Hutton playing Gordon Duncan’s pipes.

The 2014 Gordon Duncan Memorial Recital was held  on 26th January 2014 at the National Piping Centre as part of Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.

Ali Hutton Representing Scotland
Sylvain Hamon Representing Brittany
Emmett Conway Representing Ireland
2014 winners
The trophies were presented by Gordon’s sister Frances and his brother, Ian.

2013

The 2013 Gordon Duncan Memorial Recital was held at the National Piping Centre, as part of the Celtic Connections Music Festival, on Sunday 3rd of February 2013.

Gordon Walker Representing Scotland
Herve Le Floc’h Representing Brittany
Margaret Dunn Representing Ireland
The 2013 winners
John Wilson introduced the players and is pictured here along with Herve, Margaret, Gordon and Chris Duncan who presented the trophies on behalf of the Trust at the 2013 recital.

2012

In 2012 the Solo Piping Competition became the Gordon Duncan Memorial Recital, and the 2012 event took place at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. Similar to the competition which was held previously the players were invited to play and each had to play a Breton, an Irish and a Scottish selection. As a recital there were three invited players who each received a plaque with thanks.

(The Gordon Duncan Memorial Solo Competition Trophy was not presented.)

Angus McColl Representing Scotland
Alexis Meunier Representing Brittany
Robert Watt Representing Ireland

2011

The 2011 competition was held at the National Piping Centre on the 16th January as part of the Celtic Connections Music Festival in Glasgow.

The invited pipers this year representing their homeland were from:

  • Scotland: Alasdair Henderson, Allan MacDonald and Cameron Drummond
  • Brittany: Alexis Meunier, Sylvain Hamon, Xavier Boderiou
  • Ireland: Andrea Boyd, Robert Watt and Ryan Canning

The results were:

PLACE BRETON SECTION IRISH SECTION SCOTTISH SECTION
1st Alexis Meunier Robert Watt Alasdair Henderson
2nd Sylvain Hamon Andrea Boyd Allan MacDonald
3rd Xavier Boderiou Ryan Canning Cameron Drummond
Judge 1 Patrick Molard Lenny Browne Jimmy Banks
Judge 2 Herve Le Floc’h Willy Garret Ian G Duncan

The overall winner for 2011 was Alexis Meunier from Brittany. The prizes were presented by Gordon Duncan Jr.

The 2011 winners
A line up of the Breton solo players, Alexis, Sylvain and Xavier with the Breton Adjudicators, Herve and Patrick, and Ian and Gordy.

2010

The fourth annual competition was this year held at the National Piping Centre, Glasgow, on the 31st January 2010 as part of the Celtic Connections music festival. This event pays tribute to the late Gordon Duncan by holding events in Scottish, Breton and Irish genres.

The invited players representing their homeland were from:

  • Scotland: Willie McCallum, Stuart Liddell and Glen Brown
  • Brittany: Xavier Boderiou, Alexis Meunier and Sylvain Hamon
  • Ireland: Alen Tully, Andrew Carlisle and Jonathan Greenlees

The results were:

PLACE BRETON SECTION IRISH SECTION SCOTTISH SECTION
1st Xavier Bouderiou Stuart Liddell Willie McCallum
2nd Alexis Meunier Alen Tully Stuart Liddell
3rd Willie McCallum Willie McCallum Sylvain Hamon
Judge 1 Erwin Ropars David Caldwell Ronnie McShannon
Judge 2 Herve Le Floc’h L Brown Ian G Duncan
The three winners of each section in 2010.
The three winners of each section in 2010.

The overall winner this year was Willie McCallum from Bearden, Scotland.

Prizes were presented by Jock Duncan.

All the invitees of 2010 line up for a photo at the end
All the invitees of 2010 line up for a photo at the end.

2009

The third annual Gordon Duncan memorial Invitational Solo Piping Competition was held on the 25th January 2009 at the Station Hotel in Glasgow as part of the Celtic Connection Festival. Because the hotel was in liquidation at this time there was no heating at the competition, causing spectators and judges to wear overcoats throughout the near six hour event. One competitor quipped that the conditions were good practice for the Scottish Games circuit in the summer!

This year the invited players were from:

  • Scotland: Willie McCallum, Chris Armstrong and Gordon McCready
  • Brittany: Alexis Meunier, Sylvain Hamon and Xavier Boderiou
  • Ireland: Andrew Carlisle, Ashley McMichael and Jonathan Greenlees

The results were:

PLACE BRETAN SECTION IRISH SECTION SCOTTISH SECTION
1st Alexis Meunier Alexis Meunier Alexis Meunier
2nd Sylvain Hamon Sylvain Hamon Willie McCallum
3rd Xavier Boderiou Willie McCallum Chris Armstrong
Judge 1 Herve Le Floc’h Harry Stevenson Iain McLellan
Judge 2 Jean Yves Magre Kenny Stewart Ian G Duncan

The overall winner, with a clean sweep this year was Alexis Meunier from Brittany. Jock Duncan, Gordon Duncan’s father, presented the prizes.

Alexis Meunier with Jock Duncan  Alexis Meunier

The competition was sponsored by McCallum Bagpipes who also provided the wonderful prizes.

The judges of the Breton music in 2009. 

The judges of the Breton music and the Scottish music in 2009.

2008

The second Gordon Duncan Invitational Solo Piping Competition was held on the January 26th 2008 before a large crowd at the Central Hotel as part of the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.

The invited competitors were:

  • From Scotland: Willie McCallum, Roddy MacLeod and Simon McKerrell
  • From Brittany: Xavier Boderiou, Alexis Meunier and Sylvain Hamon
  • From Ireland: Andrew Carlisle, Alen Tully and Ryan Canning

The judges were:

  • Jackie Pincet and Pierre Galais (Breton Section)
  • Kenny Stewart and Harry Stevenson (Irish Section)
  • Ian G Duncan and Iain MacLellan (Scottish Section)

The results were:

PLACE BRETON SECTION IRISH SECTION SCOTTISH SECTION  
1st Xavier Boderiou Andrew Carlisle Willie McCallum  
2nd Alexis Meunier Alexis Meunier Andrew Carlisle  
 3rd Sylvain Hamon Roddy MacLeod Roddy McLeod  

The overall winner for 2008 was Andrew Carlisle from Northern Ireland and was presented with the Gordon Duncan Trophy by Gordon’s father, Jock Duncan.

2007

The 2007 competitors were:

  • From Scotland: Roddy MacLeod, Simon McKerrell and Stuart Cassells (sadly, Stuart Cassells from Falkirk could not attend on the day)
  • From Brittany: Herve Le Floc’h, Sylvain Hamon and Charles Noim
  • From Ireland: Ryan Canning, Alen Tully and Andrew Carlisle

The judges were:

  • The Scottish Music was judged by Iain McLellan and Ian G Duncan
  • The Breton Piece was judged by Jackie Pincet and Pierre Galais
  • The Irish Music was judged by Harry Stevenson and Kenny Stewart

The results:

PLACE BRETON SECTION IRISH SECTION SCOTTISH SECTION
1st Sylvain Hamon Alen Tully Andrew Carlisle
2nd Ryan Canning Sylvain Hamon Sylvain Hamon
3rd Herve Le Floc’h Roddy MacLeod Allen Tully

Sylvain Hamon, a member of Bagad Cap Caval from Brittany, was the overall winner of the first Gordon Duncan Memorial Solo Piping Competition. Sylvain won the Breton Section and was second in both the Irish and the Scottish events. Alen Tully, a member of St Laurence O’ Toole Pipe band was the overall runner up winning the Irish event and Andrew Carlisle of Northern Ireland finished third and winning the Scottish event. Every player competed in each event.

Gordon’s father, Jock Duncan presented the prizes to the winners.

John Wilson was the MC and McCallum Bagpipes sponsored a trophy for each of the three events as well as the overall prize, the Gordon Duncan Trophy.