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Robert Wallace


Biography (Courtesy of The Whistlebinkies site, 2005).

Robert Wallace is one of Scotland's leading professional solo pipers. He began playing at the age of nine in the 214th Boys Brigade in Glasgow, Scotland. At 18 he joined the now defunct, but well-remembered, Grade One pipe band, Muirhead and Sons, many times the World Champions. He studied under Pipe Major Robert Hardie, and when the band folded in 1979 began piobaireachd tuition with Andrew Wright of Dunblane, a pupil of the great authorities on this music, P/M Donald MacLeod, R.U. Brown and R.B. Nicol of Balmoral. Prior to this, in 1974, Rab had joined the Whistlebinkies and with them restored an early set of bellows-blown lowland pipes. This instrument was used on the group's first recording Whistlebinkies 1 on the Dublin based Claddagh label in 1976 and thus began the revival in "cauld-wind" or Scottish bellows piping. Robert has enjoyed a successful solo piping career. Highlights include winning the Gold Medal at Oban (1985), the Gold Medal at Inverness (1995) and the Former Winners March, Strathspey and Reel at Oban (1985). He achieved a notable double in 1989 when he won both the Bratach Gorm (Blue Banner) and Gillies Cup at the London Piping Championship, the first piper to achieve this since R.U. Brown in 1962. He has appeared on the concert stage with The Scottish Ensemble, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the RSNO Chorus and in 1996 gave the first ever performance of music for string quartet and pipes with the Saltire Quartet. His book of pipe music The Glasgow Collection of Bagpipe Music is now in its fourth reprint. As well as being a full time musician Robert Wallace is a professional journalist who edits the magazine The Piping Times, writes a piping column for the West Highland Free Press newspaper and is a frequent contributor to radio and television. He acts as an agent and consultant for one of the leading bagpipe manufacturers D. Naill & Son.

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