E’ davvero difficile sintetizzare in poche righe ciò che Simon McKerrell rappresenta per il piping del futuro. Ha iniziato a studiare la GHB all’età di 8 anni e ha avuto i migliori insegnanti presenti sul suolo scozzese vincendo numerosi concorsi musicali di altissimo livello. Laureato in “Scottish Traditional Music – Piping” Simon ha conseguito appena l’anno scorso anche il dottorato in “etnomusicologia” discutendo la tesi “la musica per Cornamusa Scozzese nelle competizioni : il suono, le modalità e i canoni esetici”. Ricercatore, compositore e musicista a “tutto tondo”, Simon suona anche altri tipi di cornamusa (Uillean Pipes, Border Pipes e Scottish Smallpipes) e, oltre a partecipare con successo alle massime competizioni per Cornamusa Scozzese, si è esibito in tutto il mondo sia come solista che con il proprio gruppo “Back of the Moon” incidendo anche vari album di notevole successo. Ha un palmares di premi assolutamente invidiabile : Dunvegan Medal (2004), Skye Clasp (2005), 2° Gold medal Oban (2005), 3° in A-grade March, Strathspey e Reel a Inverness (2005), 1° A-grade Piobaireachd Inverary (2005), e al Peter McFarquar Star per Strathspey e Reel (Skye 2004). Attualmente è il direttore dei corsi di Cornamusa Scozzese presso il National Piping Centre di Glasgow ed è l’anello di congiunzione tra questa prestigiosa istituzione e la Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama. E’ tra i migliori piper rampanti di Scozia.
English version :
Dr. SIMON McKERRELL
Simon McKerrell began the pipes at the age of eleven. He was taught initially by P/M Angus MacDonald, Kenny MacDonald, P/M Jimmy Pryde and Allan MacDonald, but for the last six years has been receiving tuition from Murray Henderson. Simon plays the Highland, Uilleann and Border bagpipes and is in regular demand as a session musician and recitalist. He is proud to be recently appointed as ‘Head of Piping Studies’ at the National Piping Centre and continues to develop the BA (Scottish Music – Piping) degree. Simon’s first musical passion is the music of the Highland bagpipes, and is a major prize-winner within this field as well as the current President of the Competing Pipers Association (CPA). Notable wins include the Dunvegan Medal (2004), Skye Clasp (2005), 2nd Gold medal Oban (2005), 3rd in A-grade March, Strathspey and Reel at Inverness (2005), 1st A-grade Piobaireachd Inverary (2005), and the Peter McFarquar Star for Strathspey and Reel playing (Skye 2004). His album credits include two albums with the group Back of the Moon, Jim Malcolm’s Home and Tam O’Shanter recordings, Highland Games, and Blair Douglas’s latest solo album, Angel from the Ashes. Other artists have recorded his compositions and he continues to compose in the traditional idiom. Simon has toured around the world performing and teaching and has played on BBC radio a number of times. Simon was awarded the PhD (Ethnomusicology) in 2005 for a thesis entitled: ‘Scottish competition bagpipe music: sound, mode and aesthetics’. He continues his research and is particularly interested in the relationship between motivic usage and performance aesthetics in traditional musics. He is grateful for the numerous academic scholarships/grants that allowed him to complete his studies which included a Musicians Benevolent Fund Education Award 2002 and 2003; the Harriet Cohen foundation; the John Mather Scholarship; The St. Andrews Society of Washington scholarship and the RSAMD Trust amongst others. Simon regularly plays Uilleann and Border pipes in a duo with the expert guitarist Tom Richardson. They concentrate on performing their own compositions and are in demand as performers throughout Scotland. He has been involved in numerous new compositions by well-known Scottish composers, working in traditional and traditional/classical fusions with for example, Brian McNeill, Fred Morrison, Mark Sheridan. He has also been involved in traditional/ jazz fusions with John Rae (Off Kilter) on several occasions and the International Unusual Suspects. Simon has performed regularly with orchestras including the RSNO, The Scottish Opera Orchestra and The Performing Arts Orchestra of England.