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John Dew

I have been hearing the sound of pipe bands for as long as I can remember, our school had a big pipe band and my town is no stranger to annual parades and highland games, so I heard the pipes a lot growing up. I took my first lessons at school from Anne Spalding at the age of 10 but didn't really take piping seriously until I went to high school & started taking tuition from Cameron Drummond for 4 years followed by Craig Muirhead for a further 2 years. During this time I played with The Vale of Atholl Grade 3B pipe band who came second in the World Pipe Band Championships in 2013.


Afterwards, I auditioned for Inveraray and District Pipe Band and joined them for the 2014 season. I've played with them ever since. In 2016 I started a BMus traditional music performance degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and graduated in 2020 with a First-Class Honours degree. During my time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and now with Inveraray and District, I have been lucky enough to perform in various concerts and festivals including Celtic Connections, Piping Live!, Celtic Colours in Cape Breton and various concerts in the Stevenson Hall at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.



I also enjoy playing in the adult solo piping circuit in Scotland. My highlights include winning the overall in the B grade at The Northern Meetings in Inverness with a 3rd place in the Silver Medal, winning the Piobaireachd at the Royal National MOD, the Kempel Star for Marches at the Skye Gathering, the Professional Strathspey and Reel at the SPA and winning the Duncan Johnstone Memorial Piping Competition, all between 2017 and 2019.

Currently I'm playing with Inveraray & District pipe band while in the solos I am B+ graded for both light music and piobaireachd. My hope is to progress to the A grades soon. I am part of a corporate background music business, a Harp and Pipes/Whistle duet called SIMMITRI, and I am currently writing my next solo piping album. On the composition front, I've been looking into various ways of fusing folk music and contemporary classical music. This ranges from contemporary bagpipe suites, string quartets with old folk melodies as musical subjects, preludes and fugues for piano and harp, short orchestral pieces and a mixed bagpipe and string ensemble. University prizes include the Agnes Miller Harmony and Counterpoint prize for Advanced Compositional Techniques and I try and apply these techniques to my new writings. I aspire to compose music for the screen and have scored 4 short films thus far. One of which, 'What Separates us from the Beasts', won three Royal Television Society awards in 2019.

My inspirations include arrangers and composers such as Greg Lawson, John Metcalfe, Carter Burwell, Mourice Ravel, Hans Zimmer, Anze Rosman and Brian Eno. The bands I really like at the moment are Project SMOK, Rura and Imar. These three have pipes and whistles in them which are full of energy which is great to hear live. Similarly Chris Stout and Catriona McKay have an amazing musical virtuosity which I would love to be able to do with the pipes. In the piping world I've had a few piobaireachd seminars from Murray Henderson and they've been fantastic! Other piping idols include Fred Morrison, Angus MacColl, Chris Armstrong and Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton.

Compositions - Connor's Debut, Cloud 18.

Arrangements - IDPB 4/4 Marches (tune 2 harmonies), A Night in that Land, The Raft Race & Aye Right (for 'Young Team Quintet' as part of the Ballymena Concert in 2018) and the harmonies in Father John MacMillan of Barra in the 2019 IDPB Medley.


'The Red Kite' Suite, Performed by The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Pipe Band in their 2018 Piping Showcase

The High Bridge Walk
00:00 / 04:14
The Co-ordinator
00:00 / 02:18
Dives & Lazarus
00:00 / 01:14
Dives & Lazarus
00:00 / 01:14

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