(1954 - )
I heard a lot of music before I was born and it was a natural continuation into a musical family, career and life. Brought up in rural Galloway, in the South-West corner of Scotland, formal music study led to a Bachelor of Music degree from Glasgow University in 1978. However, it was Postgraduate training in Music Therapy at the Roehampton Institute, London, that opened up a whole new world of possibilities in music for me. This involved the study of how music can be used as a means of communication, and in particular the communication of internal emotional stuff. A fascination with this led me to take further training in the field of psychoanalysis, which involves in a way, tuning in to the music of the unconscious.
Bagpipes featured from earliest times, but my interest in the instrument and its music took a leap forward when, to celebrate turning 50, I started to learn to play bagpipes and quickly became obsessed with the instrument.
Gradually, the combining and integration of all my worlds began to happen, and I soon found it impossible not to experiment with writing music for bagpipes. A workshop given by Mark Saul, at which R. S. MacDonald was sitting in, at the Piping Live festival, encouraged me to keep going with early attempts. From then on, the Bob Dunsire discussion forums and the people I met there, were all the encouragement needed to keep going.
I find that although I write some music in the ‘nice tunes’ category, I have an interest in developing the unusual, trying new things, extending the use of the instrument, or experimenting with the less heard. I like to explore pioneering ideas and constantly search for new ways of expressing facets of the human condition and the world or worlds in which we live. To do so through the medium of bagpipes and drums is an exciting challenge.