(shown above) was composed by James A. Barrie.
Donald MacLeod, MBE, (above) esteemed as a composer
and remembered as a virtuoso recitalist, was also a popular and
distinguished teacher in Canada and the United States as well as
Donald MacLeod was born in
1916 in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, in the Scottish Hebridean
Islands. He was initially taught the pipes by his father,
“Doyle”, and went on to be tutored by P/M Willie Ross then John
MacDonald, Inverness with whom he studied for 27 years. John
Morrison of Assynt House was a benefactor to many young people
in Stornoway and district; it was he who took Donald to the
Northern Meeting for his first major junior competition, which
He enlisted in the Seaforth
Highlanders in 1937 and his Pipe Major was the well known late
D. R. MacLennan. Donald was promoted to pipe major after only
four years. During World War II he served in France with
the 51st Highland Division, was taken prisoner by the Germans at
St. Valery, escaped during a forced march and eventually managed
to return to the UK. In 1945 he piped his battalion across the
Rhine during an assault crossing - even though he had been
advised not to do so by his commanding officer.
During his army career he
was highly successful in piping, winning all major competitions.
He retired from the army in 1962 and from competition in 1966,
he then went on to judge young people and major adult
competitions. He especially enjoyed judging at the junior
competitions, often held in the local school.
The Glasgow based Scottish
Pipers’ Association, each year in November, invited Donald and
Duncan Johnstone to give an evening recital. It was always a
very popular event and in 1977 Donald decided it was to be his
farewell appearance, it was a very memorable evening.
He published six books of
light music covering all types of composition, many of which are
modern classics. He also published a collection of piobaireachd.
He was awarded the
Membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in
1978 for outstanding service to piping.
The Donald MacLeod Memorial
Competition, which was established from an idea by Pipe Major
Iain Morrison of Lewis, is an invitational competition held in
Stornoway and celebrates Donald’s life and work. Started in 1994
by the Lewis & Harris Piping Society, it was instituted to honor
“Donald Macleod, one of the best all-round pipers of the 20th
century“. In addition Donald is considered one of the century’s
best composers. The pipers are chosen from the best competing
pipers in the world, making it a very successful and popular
Over the last 10 years or
more of his life Donald recorded 46 teaching tapes covering
approximately 230 piobaireachd - a labor of love which was
completed only a few months before he died in June 1982.