Instructors

Stuart Samson MBE

Stuart SamsonCaptain (Retired) Stuart D Samson MBE

Stuart Samson was born in Laurencekirk and has been playing the pipes since the age of 8. He enlisted into the Army in 1978, as a junior piper and joined the Drums and Pipes of The Gordon Highlanders in 1980. He was appointed Pipe Major of the Gordon Highlanders from 1990 – 1994 and then went on to carry out several Pipe Major appointments including the Pipe Major of the Highlanders and the Warrant Officer Class One Senior Pipe Major at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming. He was commissioned in 2002 and was appointed the Director of the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming in April 2003. He was responsible for providing all the structured musical training for pipers and drummers in the British Army as well as advising the Higher Command and Commanding Officers regarding Pipe Band matters. During this time he was also responsible as the Director of Army Bagpipe Music, for coordinating the musical programme and display for the Massed Pipes and Drums at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. He has considerable experience in this field having first performed in the Tattoo in 1979 and many times thereafter as a piper and Pipe Major. Stuart has also been successful on the solo piping circuit over the years, winning the Silver Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in 1988 and being placed second in the Gold Medal in both Inverness and Oban in 1995 and 1998 respectively, gaining an invitation to the Glenfiddich Championships in 1998. Stuart completed his Army service in April 2008 having served 30 years and was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June this year in recognition for services to Army Piping and a distinguished career. Stuart is currently a part time Instructor at the National Piping Centre teaching on the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland BA Scottish Music – Piping Degree. In addition to this Stuart is also the Director of Music for the Massed Pipes and Drums at the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland, which takes place annually in July and The Berlin Tattoo in Germany which takes place in November.

Stuart Samson is not available for lessons.

John Mulhearn

John MulhearnWith his piping career beginning at the age of 9, John has had many years of piping experience. As well as the traditional solo and pipe band competition circuits he has a good deal of experience performing with orchestras, trad groups, cross-cultural collaborations and his own experimental ensembles.

He originally received tuition from his father, Brian Mulhearn – proprietor and pipe maker at the Ayrshire Bagpipe Company, and a well know face on the Scottish highland games circuit. Then, moving onto lessons with Angus J. MacLellan – former Pipe Sergeant of the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band and double Gold Medalist – he received the tuition that would provide a solid grounding for what would become a successful junior solo piping career, winning most of the major prizes on the junior circuit.

During his late teens and early twenties John took a break from piping, allowing time to explore other musical genres. It was during this time that the seeds were sown for what would become his debut album in 2009 – a record that forges a connection between traditional pipe music and contemporary electronic music. At the same time as working on and releasing this album his career as a solo competitive piper and teacher was rekindled, working up an impressive record on the games circuit and at the major gatherings. Recent achievements include being runner-up in the 2012 Highland Society of London Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering.

Matt MacIsaac

Matt MacIsaacBorn in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Matt was exposed to and surrounded by piping at a very early age.
Starting formal lessons at the age of 10 he quickly became a dominant competitor in both amateur and professional events, winning consistently. He was fortunate to have had crucial foundation lessons with Dr. Angus MacDonald, John Walsh, and Scott MacAulay amongst others. He became the first Canadian to win both Under 17 events at Cowal, the MacGregor Memorial Piobaireachd contest and the Argyllshire Gathering Silver Medal at the age of 18.

In October of 2001 he joined fiddler Natalie MacMaster’s band, and toured the world with her for 8 years. During that time he got to see, hear and play with some world-class musicians like Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Edgar Meyer, Carlos Nunez, Don Henley, Chris Thile. Matt also recorded the aptly named “The Piping Album” in 2005 and has appeared on several of Natalie’s recordings.

After serving in the Canadian Forces with the Royal Canadian Air Force Band from 2009-2013, Matt is now back with Natalie MacMaster on pipes, whistles, banjo and guitar.

Willie McCallum

Willie McCallumHe is a native of Campbeltown, Kintyre, a town noted for producing a long line of champion pipers. In fact his great-great-great-great grandfather, John MacAlister was the winner of the prize pipe in 1782.

Willie was taught by two uncles, Ronald and Hugh, and influenced also by P/M Ronald McCallum, MBE. With that strong family tuition background and access to hearing the very best players in the world playing at the Kintyre Piping Society, he has a lot of experience to bring to the table.

Willie has been competing in Open piping since 1979 and during that time has won many of the top prizes, the highlights being: Glenfiddich Championship 8 times, both Gold Medals at Oban and Inverness, the Senior Piobaireachd at Oban 3 times, Former Winners MSR at Oban 5 times, Former Winners MSR Inverness 4 times, Bratach Gorm 4 times, Former Winners MSR London 5 times, Gillies Cup twice, Silver Chanter 3 times, P/M Donald MacLeod Memorial 9 times, Springbank Invitational 8 times.
Willie lives in Bearsden with his wife Christine, and has two children Hailey and Scott. He runs his own piping business, Willie McCallum Piping, which has a broad range of activities including performing, teaching, as well as selling bagpipes. He acts as a consultant to McCallum Bagpipes Ltd, in Kilmarnock and also Bannatyne Ltd, the pipe bag maker.

Willie regularly teaches individual students and for over 25 years has been involved in teaching at various summer schools throughout the world.
In recent years his students have won a wide range of prizes in both Junior, Amateur and Senior piping events, including Silver Medal, Gold Medals, Clasps, Silver Chanter and the Metro Cup.

**Instructors may vary due to unforeseen circumstances**