Captain John MacLellan: his competitive career as a solo piper.
Captain John MacLellan discusses his competitive career as a solo piper. His main instructors were Willie Ross and John MacDonald, Inverness, but he was influenced by many other leading players. He says that he admired Robert Brown and that Ronnie MacCallum influenced his march, strathspey and reel playing. He competed successfully as a professional from 1946 to 1964 and was particularly successful in 1958 when he won the 'Grand Slam' - the senior march, strathspey and reel at both Oban and Inverness, together with the senior ceòl mòr at both. He likes to innovate, and he refers to a recital he gave to the English Speaking Union in America where he had an artist drawing birds during his performance of 'The Battle of the Birds' and where he varied the speed of the movements of the tune to illustrate the birds' battle. He demonstrates this on the practice chanter.
He is a successful composer, especially of ceòl mòr, and he plays on the practice chanter part of 'The Edinburgh Pibroch', his own composition, which has never been played in public. He feels that more should be done to encourage pipers to play new compositions in public.