The Gordon Duncan Experience has gathered a top line-up of musicians to help budding young composers improve their skills.

Scotland’s Celtic Big Band put the call out on 15 February for young people aged 14-21 who want to develop their composition abilities, to audition to join its free Online Composition Masterclasses.

The Gordon Duncan Experience has now announced the list of tutors who will be joining Musical Director Patsy Reid to deliver the series of masterclasses.

Perthshire piper, whistle and cittern player Ross Ainslie has performed and recorded with Treacherous Orchestra, Salsa Celtica, Dougie MacLean and India Alba, as well as in duos with Ali Hutton and Jarlath Henderson and his own Sanctuary Band. Following the footsteps and style of his own mentor, Gordon Duncan, he is one of the most imaginative composers in Scottish traditional music.

Introduced to folk music at an early age whilst growing up in the Scottish Highlands, piper and accordionist Mairearad Green is often seen on stage alongside Anna Massie, Mike Vass, Tryst and King Creosote. Renowned for her deft and lyrical accordion style, as well as her dextrous piping, Mairearad is in great demand as a performer and composer.

Scottish folk music instrumentalist, educator and composer Hamish Napier is inspired by the heritage and nature of the Scottish landscape. His Strathspey Pentalogy, an ambitious 10-year project to produce 5 locally-inspired albums is already gaining 5-star reviews and awards. Hamish’s compositions strive for a balance between tradition and innovation, transcending boundaries to enhance Scotland’s rich musical heritage with influences and techniques from other musical genres.  

Ross, Mairearad and Hamish will be joined by Ali Hutton and Ailie Robertson.

Ross Ainslie said:

"I’m delighted to be involved with these composition masterclasses, Gordon was my mentor and biggest inspiration in music and especially composing so it’s great to be able to share some of my experiences with the musicians in The Gordon Duncan Experience."

Mairearad Green said:

“I grew up listening to Gordon Duncan albums and he just made the pipes sing! He is such an inspiration as a piper and even more so as a composer.  I remember meeting Ross Ainslie at a session in The Ceilidh Place in Ullapool when we were both teenagers and there was that instant joint repertoire with Gordon tunes amongst others.

Composition is one of my favourite aspects to being a musician and I am delighted to be taking a masterclass for the Gordon Duncan Experience.

The level of new talent coming through is incredible and it is brilliant to think what new tunes will be in the Scottish music repertoire in years to come.”

Launched by Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre in 2010 in honour of late, great Pitlochry piper Gordon Duncan, The Gordon Duncan Experience plays and creates music rooted in Scottish traditions with influences from jazz, rock, pop, blues and classical. The young musicians who have come through its ranks have performed at high-profile events and shared the stage with some of Scotland’s top artists, with many of them going on to study and make a career in music and performance.

Competition is expected to be tough for the 20 available places, with applications to audition closing on Sunday 14 of March. Anyone interested in the project should contact Horsecross Arts Creative Learning Co-ordinator (Music) Emma Neck for further information.

The project is funded by The Northwood Charitable Trust.

Tuesday 2 March 2021