14 May 1964|
Turriff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
14 December 2005 (aged 41)|
Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland
|Instruments||bagpipes, low whistle|
Duncan was born in Turriff, Aberdeenshire on 14 May 1964 to tenant farmer Jock Duncan, well known as a bothy ballad singer, and his wife Frances. Soon after Gordon's birth, Jock joined the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board and moved to Pitlochry after a brief spell in Thurso. Initially taught by his father, he began his piping career at the age of 10, winning many junior competitions under the tuition of Walter Drysdale, but started to lose interest in competition piping by the age of 18, at which point he was an apprentice joiner.
He attracted attention from folk bands, touring the US and Europe with the Tannahill Weavers, Wolfstone and Ceolbeg and became associated with Dougie MacLean, playing low whistle on his albums. He began composing soon afterwards, having travelled across Europe and been exposed to other traditions, especially Breton music.
He was a very influential piper who broke the boundaries of traditional piping music. He was a member of the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band and also performed with the Atholl Highlanders, as well as being signed by Greentrax as a solo artist.
Duncan created a new style of idiosyncratic bagpipe music. He also incorporated the bagpipes into a rendition of AC/DC's Thunderstruck. His work was heard at T in the Park, Celtic Connections, Celtic Colours in Canada, the Lorient festival in Brittany, where he was the two-time winner of the MacAllan Trophy and the Fleadh Cheoil in Ireland.
On 14 December 2005, Duncan was found dead at his home in Perthshire following a long struggle with alcoholism. His funeral was held at Pitlochry Church of Scotland and was attended by hundreds of pipers. He is survived by his mother and father, brother and two sisters, as well as his son, Gordon, and his wife, Mary.
In 2007, A National Treasure concert was staged in Perth by the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust, and for the following four years, with the BBC airing the 2011 concert. In January 2016, a gig was at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as part of Celtic Connections.
- Just for Seumas (1994)
- Circular Breath (1997)
- Thunderstruck (2003)
- Just for Gordon (2007)
- Gilchrist, Jim (20 December 2005). "Obituary: Gordon Duncan". The Scotsman. p. 33. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- Adams, Rob (22 December 2005). "Gordon Duncan; Renowned musician and composer". The Herald. Glasgow. p. 16. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- Adams, Rob (13 December 1990). "THEATRE / Brand new bag; Rob Adams reports on attempts to breathe new life into an ancient tradition". The Independent. London. p. 14.
- "Young pipers heading off in new directions". The Scotsman. 15 August 2005. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "Funeral of renowned piper who died at 41". Aberdeen Evening Express. 21 December 2005. p. 18.
- McDonald, Graham (20 June 2001). "Night with piper far from highland fling". Canberra Times. Australia. p. 8.
- English, Spaul (31 December 2011). "Just for Gordon Sunday, BBC Alba, Pipers' Champion; Piper was Regarded as One of the Most Innovative Performers and Composers". Daily Record. pp. 16–17.
- "Gordon Duncan: 1964–2006.(Obituary)". Sing Out!. 22 March 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2014 – via HighBeam. (Subscription required (. ))
- "Gordon Duncan". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- Gilchrist, Jim (20 September 2012). "Review : Folk, Jazz, Etc : Blowing up a storm in celebration of piper Duncan's legacy". The Scotsman. p. 10. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- Adams, Rob (26 September 2011). "A National Treasure V, Perth Concert Hall". The Herald. Glasgow. p. 17. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust". The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Celtic Connections 2016: Director Donald Shaw picks 10 highlights". BBC News. 14 January 2016.
- "Just For Gordon (CD)". Foot Stompin' Celtic Music. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "Gordon Duncan". Retrieved 13 April 2013.