Prize-winners announced for traditional music competitions

Armadale Castle’s Clan Donald Gaelic Arts Week reached its finale on the weekend of 7/8 June when a global audience tuned in online to watch two major traditional music competitions.  The piping and clarsach competitions were the culmination of a week of activity celebrating the Gaelic traditional arts. The week included the announcement of a new initiative to support talented young pipers through the loan of instruments.

The winner of the 33rd Donald MacDonald Cuach piobaireachd piping competition (7 June) was Glenn Brown (2nd from right in the photo). Glenn’s tune was ‘Sean Chumha a Chlaidheimh’ (The Old Lament of the Sword).  Glenn is originally from Ontario, Canada and now lives in Glasgow. His prizes for piobaireachd include the Canadian Gold Medal, the Dunvegan Medal and the Northern Meeting Gold Medal. Adjudicator Colin MacLellan praised the excellent quality of all the players. The audience also enjoyed singing from Griogair Labhruidh, as well as playing from Edinbane piper Archie Maclean and young people from Sleat.

The winner of the Princess Margaret of the Isles Memorial Prize for Senior Clàrsach (8 June) was Elinor Evans, shown here being presented with her prize by Clan Donald Lands Trust board member Andrew Wilkie. Born in Scotland of Welsh parents, Elinor is a former student of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has competed successfully in many festivals.  Elinor’s performance included her own composition, ‘The Cuillin’, a serialism-inspired piece based on the height of Skye’s 12 Munros.  Adjudicator Mary Ann Kennedy congratulated the competitors on their fine performances and for demonstrating the gamut of what the Scottish harp is capable of.

Both competitions were very well attended and were also live streamed online, attracting thousands of music fans from the US, Canada and Australia. View the competitions and highlights on our Vimeo channel.

The two competitions were the finale of a new Clan Donald Gaelic Arts Week at Armadale Castle, supported by EventScotland’s Clan Event Fund. The programme included informal performances in and around the Museum as well as music taster sessions, Gaelic language classes, and an exhibition.

Armadale Castle has also announced a new initiative to support local young pipers. Clan Donald Lands Trust, the charity that manages Armadale Castle, has purchased five sets of bagpipes which will be loaned to promising pupils who are seeking to graduate from the chanter. Local piping tutors Ian Ruari Finlayson and Niall Stewart were presented with the pipes at the Donald MacDonald Cuach competition.