Featured Artist

Simon Blackshaw

A talented piper and composer from Melbourne Australia

1) What kind of pipes and chanter do you play?
2009 Silver (Chased Thistle) and Imitation Ivory Peter Hendersons (PH05) with a Plastic Peter Henderson Band Chanter

2) Where do you hail from? Where do you live now?
Born and Live in Melbourne, Australia

3) Tell me about your piping career. When did you start? What bands have you played with?
I started learning when I was about 11 or so and started off at the Nunawading Pipe Band in Grade 4 under the late Ken Hylands. I was there from 2001 till 2007 where I played for a short time with the Australia Highlanders (formerly Nunawading Pipe Band) in the local competitions before moving on to the Pipe Band Club Sydney in 2008 till the end of 2009. Over the years I have played with Hawthorn City Pipe Band where we won the Grade 2 Australia Pipe Band Championships in 2010. At the end of 2011 I joined and continue to play with Moorabbin City Pipe Band under PM Ian Lyons. In 2010 I joined Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band from Vancouver, Canada as an international guest member and have played with them for the past few years travelling back and forth for the summer competition season and the Worlds.

4) What has been your proudest moment in piping so far?
I have had a few great moments in piping. One that stands out is winning a set of McCallum Pipes when I was 15 as most prospective up and coming piper a long with the D- Grade Victorian Championship and the Piobaireachd Silver Medal all on the same day. Coming 8th at the World Pipe Band Championships in Grade 1 in 2012 with Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band. Winning Grade 2 Australian, New Zealand and Victorian Championships with Moorabbin City Pipe Band (grand slam). And most recently winning the A-Grade Victorian Championship adding to my goal of winning D,C, B and A Grade Victorian Championships in solo piping.

5) What has been your most stressful moment?
Playing at the MacCrimmon Solo Piping Competition in Lorient this year. It was an extremely hot day and I realised that I had packed a navy sock and black sock! so I had to run around to find a new pair from one of the local Highland wear stores before rushing to my tuning room. A very stressful moment!

6) Who were you taught by?
I was taught and am still taught by my father, Simon Blackshaw Snr with guidance from Nat Russell O.A.M and Ian Lyons.

7) What do you do as a day job?
Trained as an Architectural Draftsman and Energy Efficiency Consultant; however at the moment I am a part owner of a Service Station in a rural area of Victoria, I also do a bit of teaching on the side and help my parents at their Flooring business.

8) What other hobbies/pursuits/past times do you have?
I enjoy writing music, keeping fit, hot weather and spending time at my family’s beach house on the coast of Victoria. My main pursuits are to eventually win a Worlds in Grade 1. It’s all I’ve ever strived for and it’s what motivates me. I love the buzz that comes with playing in a band, there’s just something about it, indescribeable. I would also like to win a few more solo prizes around Australia and New Zealand. A huge past time for me is writing music. In 2012 I released my first collection of contemporary bagpipe music called ‘inspiration’ which has received great reviews and some of the music feature in pipe band medley’s and concert sets, so I plan to get a few more volumes out in the years to come.

9) Where is the most interesting place your piping travels have taken you?
Kokoda, Papua New Guinea

10) What would your most perfect piping event be?
My perfect piping event would be a ‘Suite’ or ‘Freestyle’ competition during the Piping Live festival. I think it would bring out some new modern bagpipe music and it will provide great entertainment for the audience.