We have a fantastic line up of teachers in all disciplines for the Bruggen School in 2019 . Click the grey name bar at the top of each biography to find out more about each teacher.
Willie is a native of Campbeltown, where he learned piping primarily from his uncles Ronald and Hugh and P/M Ronald McCallum, Piper to the Duke of Argyll. His roots go right back to the early days of piping competition and his 4 times great grandfather, John MacAlister, won the Prize Pipe in 1782.
This season has seen Willie involved in the normal circuit of competition where he competed in some of the major events at Piping Live!, the Springbank Invitational as well as major prizes at Inverness and Oban.
Some of his notable career wins are the Glenfiddich Piping Championships with a record 8 overall wins, the Gold Medals at Inverness and Oban, Senior Piobaireachd Oban (3), Bratach Gorm (4), Silver Chanter (3), Former Winners MSR Oban (5), Former Winners MSR Inverness (4), P/M Donald MacLeod Memorial (9), Springbank Invitational (9), Dan Reid Memorial (7), Donald MacDonald Quaich (3), Former Winners MSR London (5).
He runs his own piping business, Willie McCallum Piping, which involves teaching, as well as selling bagpipes, being consultant to bagpipe maker McCallum Bagpipes Ltd, in Kilmarnock and similarly involved at Bannatyne Ltd, Pipe Bag maker, working on developing bags and moisture control devices. His teaching career started in the early 1990s and since then he has been involved in teaching several champion pipers who have won Silver Medals, Gold Medals, Former Winners MSR, Clasps and the Silver Chanter.
Willie lives in Bearsden with his wife Christine and has two children, Hailey and Scott.
Finlay MacDonald has blazed a trail as one of the country’s finest exponents of contemporary and traditional Piping. He has worked with many leading artists in the traditional music scene including Fred Morrison, The Unusual Suspects, La Banda Europa, Old Blind Dogs and Chris Stout. He combines the mastery and dedication of traditional Piping with a true sense of musical adventure and creative collaboration producing a unique musical voice which can be heard on numerous recordings and projects. His Compositions and arrangements have been played by many leading artists including The World Champions, Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.
Always driven by collaboration and innovation, Finlay’s passion for the music he has grown up with has led him to the post of “Head of Piping Studies” at the National Piping Centre and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he continues to inspire and develop the very best of new Piping talent.
“Finlay MacDonald has emerged as one of the leading lights in the current crop of young pipers with deep roots in the pipe band tradition, but grafted on to a distinctly contemporary musical sensibility to produce a compelling hybrid.”
Kenny Matheison, The Scotsman 12/5/07
John's piping career began in earnest at the age of nine, under the watchful eye of his father, Brian, and former double Gold Medallist and Pipe Sergeant of the the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, Angus J. MacLellan. Alongside close attention to the technical intricacies of the chanter and pipes, a deep appreciation for the music and traditions was instilled at an early age. This rigorous grounding has gone on to influence what has become a wide and varied career as a professional piping teacher and performer.
As a teacher, John's first experiences were gained at Glasgow's College of Piping as an evening class and summer school instructor. This formative experience gave an early insight into the wide variety of ages, backgrounds and learning needs of piping students. Since 2008 John has been a full time member of the National Piping Centre's teaching faculty. The diversity of students attending individual lessons, courses, summer schools, workshops, seminars and online courses at the National Piping Centre, at home and abroad, has enabled John to develop a thoughtful, intuitive and responsive approach to teaching. Equally comfortable teaching the complete basics of holding the practice chanter, through to expressing the nuances of piping's classic repertoire, or mentoring pipers in search of a new approach to their playing, John's teaching style and experience caters for the individual needs of each student. In addition, as a holder of the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board SCQF Level 8 certificate John is an approved examiner for all PDQB examinations.
As a performer and composer/arranger John's background is varied, showing an equally deep appreciation for the competitive traditions of solo piping and pipe bands as for more contemporary forms of expression. In terms of solo competition John has been a successful competitor on the annual highland games circuit from a young age, winning many awards over the years and in 2012 was runner-up in Highland Society of London's Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering, one of solo piping's most prestigious competitions. Having been involved in a number of pipe bands since the age of twelve John is currently a member of the 'all-star' Grade 1 band Spirit of Scotland. It is in electronic music production that John has been able to stretch his creativity and find new avenues for exploring traditional music, with a number of critically acclaimed releases. John is also a founding member of The Big Music Society, a multifaceted project with the express aim of helping to foster new and creative approaches the piping's 'classical' tradition, Ceol Mor.
Dr. Andrew Bova
Dr. Andrew Bova began his piping career at the age of 12 in Northwest Ohio under the tutelage of Richard Winslow and Iain Macey. He would go on to receive tuition from the late Alasdair Gillies, Jimmy McIntosh MBE, Andrew Carlisle, and Roddy MacLeod MBE. An avid bandsman, he has played in the Grade 1 Windsor Police Pipe Band, Peel Regional Police Pipe Band, 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band, and recently joined Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. Under the direction of Pipe Major Ryan Canning, Andrew was a member of the 2015 World Pipe Band Championship winning Shotts Pipe Band. In addition to his band career, Andrew has been a consistently successful solo competitor, having won prizes in the USA, Canada, and Scotland.
Andrew is an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University, where he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (with honours) and a Master of Music, both in piping performance. In 2021 he was awarded his PhD from the University of St Andrews/The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His dissertation, Competitive Scottish Bagpipe Repertoire from 1947-2015: Convention, Change, and Innovation, explores the development of competition piping light music repertoire and the decision-making processes of competing pipers. Andrew has presented on his research at universities, academic conferences, and piping workshops; the latter being an influence of his belief in a holistic approach to piping education. As a part of this holistic approach, Andrew’s musical teaching method is heavily influenced by Dalcroze Eurhythmics.
Andrew’s musical interests and influences extend beyond competitive piping and he has been involved in a number of concerts, recitals, and musical ensembles with performances throughout North America and Europe. He has collaborated with classical orchestras and chamber ensembles on new music premieres and, with his background in classical music, was the Musical Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Flute Choir and served a brief stint as the Assistant Conductor of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh. Since 2008, Andrew has run a number of fundraiser concerts in the USA for Operation Smile, a charity which helps children born with cleft lips and palates, raising over $15,000 to date.
Mark Wilson has had a highly successful career in World Championship winning pipe bands and drum corps, and an enviable record as a top solo player. Competing in the top echelons of grade 1 with both The Pipes & Drums Of The Royal Ulster Constabulary GC and Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, he has won over 30 championships titles in both band and corps playing. These include 15 Ulster, 4 All Ireland, 4 Scottish, 3 European, 4 Cowal Championships and 5 World Championship titles.
He is a former Director of the Northern Ireland Piping & Drumming School, a former member of the R.S.P.B.A. Music Board, and an international examiner for the Piping & Drumming Qualifications Board. Mark is also a fully qualified member of the RSPBA Adjudicators panel and is in demand for adjudication duties throughout Europe and in the United States.
He is a highly sought after teacher with his pupils having won over 20 Ulster, All Ireland and World Solo Championship Titles. Each year Mark conducts numerous workshops, seminars, master classes and performances throughout Europe, the United States and the Middle East. As well as being a world class snare drummer, Mark works as a freelance professional drummer, percussionist and musical arranger with some of Irelands’ top international recording artists, Eurovision song contest winning acts, international touring shows and symphony orchestras. He has both produced and been Musical Director, of international touring music and dance shows, and is the director of Drumming for the Massed Pipes & Drums at a number of tattoos within Europe, including the famous Avenches and St. Gallen Tattoos in Switzerland.
Having retired from competitive playing he now composes for and co-runs “Titanic Drums”, a group of over 250 drummers, singers and dancers who perform at major national and international events. He wrote, orchestrated and conducted a percussion suite for the opening ceremony of a major international sporting event with over 40 percussionists and the rhythms of the feet of 20 dancers which was broadcast live to over 75 Million homes throughout Europe. He now also works as a Presenter, Musical Director and Assistant Producer of a number of different music series for BBC Television and Radio. and presents BBC Radio Ulster’s popular “Pipes & Drums” programme.
Born in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada, Tyler Fry is the recognized world leader in the art of tenor drumming. By the age of 15, he had won every major professional solo tenor drumming event in North America; including the Canadian, United States and North American Championships.
Tyler has been awarded three world bass drum section championships with the 78th Fraser Highlanders of Toronto, as well as countless Scottish, British, European and World band and drum corps titles with Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia under the leadership of legendary Drum Major Jim Kilpatrick MBE.
Tyler travels extensively throughout every continent year-round conducting masterclasses and seminars and he regularly tours with the infamous bagrock group, the Red Hot Chili Pipers.
Tyler created the worldwide brand TyFry Ltd. at the age of 13, which holds all of the global patents and is the world leader in the manufacturing of all variations of tenor drum beaters used today, including the TyFry Ultimate and Ultimate Practice.