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James H. McIntosh MBE


Jimmy - Memoirs of My Like as A Piper
Les mémoires de Jimmy McIntosh (en anglais)

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In the year 1925, James McIntosh was born into humble beginnings, in a two-room structure that would soon house a family of seven. His home was a stone's throw from the beach in Broughty Ferry, then a thriving fishing village on the east coast of Scotland. This was a time of strict social obedience and even stricter social mores. Children were to be seen and not heard. They were expected to obey the man of the house without question or cavil.

Thus did Jimmy find himself put to the bagpipes by his father and then packed off to the army as a naive teenager. He left behind brothers, sisters, and friends, as well as the familiar stretts, buildings, and shoreline of his boyhood. Forced to depart the only environment he had ever suitcase and pipes in hand, not knowing what fate awaited him.

Never one to give in easily, Jimmy determined to see it through, to make the best of his lot. He saw action during WWII and, after demob; proceeded to carve out a life for himself and his family.

Though lacking formal education, he never stopped studying and working to be the best at his music. He sought out the finest instructors and became a successful competitor in world-class competitions. He soon became a mentor to dozens of piping students and helped them to do the same.

Never satisfied to "rest on his laurels", Jimmy was always looking for new projects to share his knowledge and passion. One of those was establishing the world's first piping professorship at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

He traveled internationally, giving recitals, teaching, adjudicating, and organizing piping schools. Such was the success of his work that he was recognized by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who, at Buckingham Palace, presented him with an MBE for his services to bagpipe music. 

In this memoir, Jimmy paints a picture in words of his lifelong dedication to his art, the people he met along the way, and the ups and downs in his life, both personal and professional. He writes as if you are sitting in the room with him, chatting by the fire. This touching memoir provides a link with the past, and through one man's vivid telling of his story, we learn how we can enrich our own.

James H. - Jimmy - McIntosh MBE (1925 - 2021)

Né à Broughty Ferry en Ecosse en 1925, il démarre l’apprentissage de la cornemuse à l’âge de 8 ans et reçoit des leçons par des sonneurs de légende comme John A. MacLellan, Donald MacLeod ou encore Willie Ross. 
Après avoir servi l’armée britannique et notamment durant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, il croise le chemin de deux autres maitres de la cornemuse écossaise : Robert U. Brown et Robert B. Nicol (les fameux Two Bobs) auprès desquels il se perfectionne notamment dans la maîtrise du Piobaireachd (la musique classique de la cornemuse écossaise).
S’en suit une série de palmarès et de récompenses dans les plus prestigieuses compétitions de soliste de cornemuse, notamment :

  • Gold Medal à Inverness en 1971
  • Premier vainqueur du "Grant’s Invitational Solo Piping Championship" à Blair Castle en 1974 (à présent "The Glenfiddich Piping Championship")
  • Gold Medal à Oban en 1978

Il se consacre aussi à l’enseignement de la cornemuse et de la matière Piobaireachd dans la grande tradition de l’école de Balmoral des deux Bobs. C’est ainsi qu’une longue liste de sonneurs expérimentés bénéficiera de son enseignement, parmi eux : Jack Lee, Mike Cusack, Bruce Gandy, Murray Henderson ou plus récemment Andrew Carlisle.
A l’invitation d’un autre de ses élèves, le sonneur Jakez Pincet, Jimmy animera plusieurs master-class en Bretagne dans les décennies 1980 et 1990 et jusqu’à récemment en 2017 lors de sa participation à l’événement « Pibroc’h en Borde de mer » à Cancale.
En 2014, paraît son propre recueil de Piobaireachd - Ceol Mor, for the Great Highland Bagpipe - fidèle à la tradition de l'école de Balmoral.

Editions : FultonBooks (2002)
Langue : Anglais
456 pages / 15 cm x 23 cm

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