For Stuart Liddell, piping is in the blood. His grandfather was the late Pipe Major Ronnie McCallum MBE, piper to the Duke of Argyll, and it was from Ronnie that Stuart had his first lessons, at the age of nine, building the foundations of solid technique and sound repertoire which have become a hallmark of his playing. Another early influence was Arthur Gillies from Kilchrennan, a masterly interpreter of both light music and piobaireachd, and more recently he has had tuition from Jim Henderson and Hugh MacCallum.
Stuarts base is in Inveraray, Argyll, where he works as a piano tuner and piping instructor. He has not been afraid to spread his wings, though. In the summer months he plays with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from British Columbia in Canada, with whom he has won two world titles (in 1999 and 2001), as well as performing in memorable concerts at the Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House, both of which have been captured on CD.
Prior to that he played for seven years with the Scottish Power Pipe Band, based in Glasgow, while honing his reputation as a formidable solo competitor and a highly entertaining recitalist. Stuart won the Gold medal at the Northern Meeting in Inverness in 2000, followed by the Oban Gold Medal in 2004.
He has played at events ranging from the Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition in Stornoway, to the Glenfiddich Championship in Blair Atholl, to the final of the Scottish Pipers Association Knockout Competition, which he won in 2005.
To all this he has brought considerable wit and imagination, both in his playing, and in his personal outlook on life. His repertoire is wide-ranging, from the classics of the piobaireachd repertoire to thoroughly modern compositions and brilliant new tune arrangements. He is a joy to listen to, and this recording captures him in full flight, both in the studio, and in the intimate surroundings of Breakish Village Hall in Skye, where he played to a small and very appreciative audience in February of this year.