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
Alisdair is from Perth, Western Australia. He began piping at Trinity College, Perth at the age of 13 where he also received tuition from local pipers John MacMurchie and Malcolm Brown. In 1996 which was his final year of high school, he was promoted to Pipe Major of the Trinity College Pipes & Drums where he led the band to various juvenile championship wins in Western Australia. In the same year he was also a member of the Grade 3 Armadale City Pipe Band when they won the Australian & South Pacific Pipe Band Championships.
Alisdair joined Western Australia Police Pipe Band (WAPOL) in 1997 and was a part of a very successful period for the band winning the 1998 Grade 2 World Championships, 2001 Grade 1 American Championships and a 10th place at the 2004 World Championships Grade 1.
In 2005 whilst still living in Perth, Australia, Alisdair became the first fly in guest player for the world renowned Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, 12 times winners of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Associations World Pipe Band Championship. In 2006 Alisdair was appointed to the position of Pipe Major of the Western Australia Police Pipe Band which he held for 12 months before relocating to Glasgow in October 2007.
Alisdair is also an accomplished solo piper having won many prizes throughout Australia. At the end of 2008 he joined the ranks of the 10 time World Champions, Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band where he has won every Major title including the Scottish, British, European, Cowal, Ulster, All Ireland and World Pipe Band Championships. In 2011 and 2013 Alisdair was a part of the band that completed the “Grand Slam” winning all 5 major championships in one season including the World Pipe Band Championships.
Outside of piping Alisdair is a keen Triathlete having raced in many events throughout Western Australia and Scotland. Since 2014 Alisdair has completed the Ironman UK 70.3 ,Ironman Wales, and Challenge Roth in Germany. Recently, Alisdair completed the Paris Marathon and is now currently training for Challenge Roth, Germany and Ironman Busselton, Western Australia, events which take place in 2016.
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.
A native of Airdrie north Lanarkshire was taugh his piping from his father John before recieving lessons from Bob McFie, Jim Semple, Logan Tannoch, James Wark, Donald MacPhee and William J Morrison.
Dan was one of the first members of the national youth pipe band of scotland and holds a degree in applied music from the university of strathclyde.
In 2006 Dan joined then Robert Wiseman diaries Vale of Atholl pipe band and began his grade one career. Since 2010 Dan has been a member of Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band. Winning the world pipe band championships in 2015.