|Composer's Corner I David N. Siegel|
(City of Karmi’el, The Galilee, Israel)
I am part of a very small number of Israeli pipers, and I live in the hill country of Galilee, in the town of Karmi’el, between the Mediterranean ocean and the Sea of Galilee, and about 50 kilometres north of Nazereth.
I first studied pipes as a teenager 35 years ago with Agnes “Aggie” Wallace, originally of Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, while she lived in retirement in the Hawaiian Islands. Aggie learned as a very young child from her father and other great piping characters before the First World War, thus imparting to me a very old, traditional style. I studied for several intensive years with Aggie. I lived in central Edinburgh for part of the 1970s, where I slouched unnoticed in worn leather chairs at the West End Hotel, when it was still a piper’s hang-out. I watched James Tweedie test a chanter he had just turned and tuned, only to smash it over his knees after about 10 seconds of blowing. I also played off and on in various pubs in central Edinburgh, several times with Scots Guardsmen. During this period, I met pipe maker William Sinclair, and with the hearty encouragement of a number of senior piping advisers, I ordered a set of full-ivory Sinclairs. In my university days in the Pacific Northwest of the US I competed successfully up into senior amateur, including several times before Seamus MacNeil. He always made pointedly great comments about the sound of my pipes, so I must credit my Sinclairs for a good part of my luck. I admit these days to playing outdoors with a MacCallum synthetic chanter, which blends nicely with the strong, rich, Sinclair drones. I played for a while with the Oregon National Guard Reserve pipe band, which was an interesting experiment in forming a band out of pipers who would still maintain their obligations with a primary band.
Early in my piping days, I played with a number of seriously non-competitive bands, against the wishes of my tutor, and with no great musical satisfaction to myself, except that I met my then-highland dancing wife nearly 25 years ago in one of those bands. I also met and piped along the way with a number of good, solid pipers who eventually went on to successful solo and band piping. With these fellow musicians, I began my interest in harmony, counter melody, tuneful medley arrangement, and original composition. I began composing in part because when I started the old military pipe collections were still dominant in the pipe music scene, and as great as the old classics are, they were then being over played. I wanted new music, so I began composing. I type BMW Gold code faster than I type Hebrew or English, and I am working on a first collection of Israeli tunes for the Highland pipes, on CD in BMW Gold.
Eventually I felt the pull of home, and I returned to Israel in the late 1980s. I do some teaching here in the Galilee, but only of serious, self-disciplined students. I hope to have a solid trio or quartet going in the next few years. My goal in tutoring is to create a musician-piper who is a pleasure to be heard, and is self-sufficient in bagpipe set-up, maintenance and tuning. I am not certain if there will ever be a critical mass of high-end piping talent in Israel, enough for a full, musical band, but there are a few fine piper musicians here.
My family thinks I am research librarian, and I do that sort of thing occasionally among many other odd bits and pieces of employment.
The Borgo Pass
Behold What is Good
Sons of Thunder
Farewell to Cherbourg
The Wildman of Galilee
There Be Whales!
Cadence of the Loom
The Black Iris
The Walls of Jerusalem
No. 1 Madeira Street
27 January 1945
The IDF 7th Armoured Brigade in the Valley of Tears
The Skraagh (Tuning Phrase Series)