Biographies

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Barnaby Brown is dedicated to revealing the ancient artistic traditions of Scotland’s music. Brought up in Glasgow, he champions the classical music of the Highland bagpipe and leads the revival of its ancestor, the triplepipe. A regular guest of the Edinburgh International Festival and frequent facilitator of intercultural collaborations, Barnaby lectured at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland between 2006 and 2012. He currently teaches on the BA Scottish Music (Piping) programme at the National Piping Centre and is writing a PhD thesis on pibroch at the University of Cambridge, funded by the AHRC project ‘Bass culture in Scottish musical traditions’.

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Barnaby Brown is dedicated to revealing the ancient artistic traditions of Scotland’s music. Brought up in Glasgow, he leads the revival of the northern triplepipe, the precursor of the bagpipe in Britain and Ireland. He also champions the art of canntaireachd, the mouth music of the Highland bagpipe, and has been reproducing historic bagpipe chanters with Julian Goodacre since 1998. His blend of historical and ethnographic musical materials has led to repeat engagements at the Edinburgh International Festival, Galway Early Music Festival, Scène nationale d’Orléans, Spitalfields Festival, William Kennedy Piping Festival, St Albans International Organ Festival and Celtic Connections. Between 2006 and 2012 he lectured at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He currently teaches on the BA Scottish Music (Piping) programme at the National Piping Centre and is writing a PhD thesis on pibroch at the University of Cambridge, funded by the AHRC project ‘Bass culture in Scottish musical traditions’.

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Barnaby Brown is the first Highland piper to apply the principles of the early music movement to pibroch. He began measuring historic instruments with Julian Goodacre in 1998 and plays a reproduction of a chanter from c.1680. His historically-informed performance style led to three appearances at the Edinburgh International Festival and his interest in early piping prompted him to revive the northern triplepipe, the bagpipe’s predecessor in Britain and Ireland. His activities as a performer, scholar and educator have helped to revolutionise the way pipers approach the sources of pibroch (1760–1850). He is currently writing a PhD thesis on the Campbell Canntaireachd manuscripts at the University of Cambridge, funded by the AHRC project ‘Bass culture in Scottish musical traditions’.

Barnaby’s workshop speciality is canntaireachd, the mouth music of the Highland bagpipe: using singing and hand gestures, he makes challenging music universally accessible. For six years, he led a variety of modules at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and he now teaches on the BA Scottish Music (Piping) programme at the National Piping Centre. Barnaby is a champion of intercultural collaboration, touring with his ensembles Swagatam, Band-Re, The 4 Pipers, and Coracle. Many of his publications are available at barnabybrown.info.

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Born and raised in Glasgow, Barnaby Brown was principal flautist of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. While an undergraduate at Cambridge, he took up the baroque flute and sang with Gonville & Caius College Choir. In 1996, he was appointed Composer in Residence at St George’s School, Rome, and in 2000 won a Scotland’s Year of the Artist residency, composing polyphony for Gaelic choirs in Trotternish, Isle of Skye. He has recorded two CDs of Bulgarian music with Derek Bell and is editor of the Siubhal Series, bringing single malts of Highland music to a wider audience.

Barnaby is the first Highland piper to apply the principles of the early music movement to pibroch. He began measuring historic instruments with Julian Goodacre in 1998 and plays a reproduction of a chanter from c.1680. His historically-informed performance style led to three appearances at the Edinburgh International Festival and numerous invitations to festivals abroad. His recordings, articles and editions have helped to revolutionise the way pipers approach the sources of pibroch (1760–1850), enriching the tradition beyond the legacy of the competition system.

His quest to revive the northern triplepipe, the bagpipe’s predecessor, led to six years in Sardinia and the formation of Band-Re with guitarist Gianluca Dessí. Their debut album, Strathosphere (2006), draws on an eclectic range of traditions to inspire original compositions and refresh historic Gaelic material. Between 2006 and 2012, Barnaby was a lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, leading the modules “Composing & Arranging”, “Listening Skills” and “Historical Studies” on the BA (Scottish Music) course, “Teaching Musics of the World” on the BEd (Music) course, and “Dynamic Voice” introducing all 1st-year students in the School of Music to a broad spectrum of musical traditions and notations.

Barnaby’s recent intercultural projects include reviving the silver pipes of Ur (c. 2450 B.C.); composing works for gamelan and Highland pipes; developing the “Four Nations Piping Concert” with Mick O’ Brien, Pauline Cato and François Lazarevitch; performing with the Izmir State Orchestra; and co-directing the Scottish Government commission “Yatra” for the Edinburgh Mela, combining Japanese Taiko, Indian dhrupad, and Scottish traditions. His research interests include the craft of composition with only 4–6 pitches, historical intonation and canntaireachd (the vocal substitute for Gaelic piping). He is currently writing a PhD thesis on pibroch at the University of Cambridge, funded by the AHRC project “Bass culture in Scottish musical traditions”.