Peter R. MacLeod, Jr.
Son of composing great Peter R. MacLeod, Peter MacLeod Jr. was the equal of his father as a composer, and superior as a player. Though he never pursued the major prizes with the determination of his peers, he nonetheless placed well at major events against the best players of the day.
He was a brilliant technician, as reflected in such compositions as “The Loch Ness Monster,” “The Blue Lagoon,” “Dora MacLeod,” (his sister), “Inspector Donald Campbell (Ness)” and his popular setting of “Charlie’s Welcome.”
He burst on the composing scene in 1931 at the age of 13 by taking 2nd prize in the Cowal Gathering composing competition with “Ballochyle,” a 6/8 march far beyond his years. John MacLellan of Dunoon won that year; Roderick Campbell was third.
He spent the war years in North Africa with the African Tank Corps.
From 1938 until 1955 he lived in Bulawayo, southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where he worked at odd jobs but continued actively as a piper and composer.
At that time he became good friends with Albert “Jock” Stewart, who had immigrated there from Aberdeen during the 1950s. From Jock we get what is perhaps our best description of Peter MacLeod Jr. as a man and a player:
Peter was always very animated and lively: great fun to be around. As a player he was much the same. While he competed as a younger man, he seemed to have passed out of the competition realm to a higher place altogether. To hear him play was unbelievable. His fingers were strong and fast, and the pipes seemed like part of him. The playing was a perfect blend of pipes and Peter.
Peter MacLeod Jr. died in London on November 25, 1972 at the age of 54.
JM, August 2007
-with notes from ‘The Piper and Dancer Bulletin’, fall, 1972 and private conversations with Andrew Wright and Albert Stewart.