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 Angus Macdonald
Angus Macdonald
June 25, 1999
Age 60  
 
Pancreatic Cancer 
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  Angus MacDonald Dies at 60; Was Scottish Bagpiper of Note

          By NICK RAVO 

               Angus MacDonald, whose verve and virtuosity made him one of the 
               world's best and best-known bagpipe players, died on June 25 in 
          a hospice in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he lived. He was 60.  

          The cause was pancreatic cancer, said a friend and fellow professional 
          bagpiper, Donald McBride of Edinburgh.  

          MacDonald served in the Scots Guards, a military unit in the British 
          army, for 30 years and held the rank of pipe major. He also spent several 
          years as the personal piper to Queen Elizabeth II and won numerous 
          major piping awards, including the Clasp and the Gold Medal, both of 
          which are sponsored by the Highland Society of London.  

          "He probably was one of the best this century in light music -- dance and 
          marching pipe music," said Paula Glendinning of Ashton, Md., a former 
          student of MacDonald's who is now the editor of The Voice, a bagpipe 
          magazine in Baltimore. She said he also won awards for his classical 
          music composed for the Scottish Highland bagpipes, called piobaireachd. 

          MacDonald was influential as a teacher, too, giving instruction and 
          performances in many nations. Indeed, few people have become so 
          identified with the bagpipe, one of the oldest instruments known to man, 
          dating back to the Middle East 4,000 years ago. The instrument played 
          today -- inimitable with its combination of shrillness backed by a deep 
          bass line -- is about 300 years old.  

          "He traveled all over the world, and that's why he is so well known," Ms. 
          Glendinning said.  

          The son of a Cameron Highlander, MacDonald was born on Oct. 20, 
          1938, in Glasgow, Scotland. He discovered his passion for bagpipes in 
          the pipe band at the Queen Victoria School in Dunblane and rose to the 
          position of boy pipe major.  

          He left school at 15 and joined the Scots Guards in 1953 as a piper. He 
          rose through the ranks and in 1965 became pipe major and household 
          piper to the Queen.  

          In 1974, MacDonald was reassigned to the Guards Depot piping school 
          at Pirbright. Four years later, he joined the Scots Guards recruiting team, 
          where he became something of a pied piper with his performances. He 
          later served as senior instructor at the Army School of Piping and piper 
          to the governor of Edinburgh Castle. He became a member of the Order 
          of the British Empire in 1983, the same year he retired.  

          After his retirement from the military, MacDonald taught at the Piping 
          Center in Glasgow, the world's foremost piping institution. He also 
          traveled, training pipers from Northern Ireland to Oman to Malaysia. 
          And he performed in many countries, including the United States, where 
          he had a large following.  

          Besides winning the Clasp and the Gold Medal, MacDonald won several 
          other bagpipe awards. including victories in the Grant's Scotch Whisky 
          Championship at Blair Castle.  

          MacDonald is survived by his daughter, Fiona MacDonald of London.  

          In a forward to the 1993 reprint of the 1927 book "The Piper in Peace 
          and War" by C.A. Malcolm, MacDonald said of Scottish regimental 
          pipers: "They have been, and still are, some of the best ambassadors this 
          country has." 

    
  
 
        
 
 
 
 
       
 

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