It’s a long way from a northern Ontario mining town to the most prestigious piping competition in the world, the Northern Meeting in Inverness, Scotland. It’s perhaps slightly less far when your Scottish father starts teaching you bagpipes at the age of five—but only slightly.
William Livingstone went that far and more. This “upstart Canadian” not only won gold at the Northern Meeting, he became one of the world’s most celebrated pipers and for many years led one of the world’s most celebrated pipe bands. Along the way he played rock and roll to put himself through university, completed law school, got married, battled depression, travelled widely, and made countless friends (and a few enemies) among the many characters in the piping community.
In Preposterous, Livingstone tells the story of his life—and especially his life as a piper—with humour, honesty, and grace. Both an engaging memoir and a fascinating behind-the-scenes window into the colourful, exacting and sometimes frustrating world of competitive piping, Preposterous is a book that anyone can enjoy, and that piping fans everywhere will cherish.
William Livingstone is a world-renowned piper who was born in Copper Cliff, Ontario. He has won numerous prestigious prizes for his solo playing, including the Clasp at the Northern Meeting (1981, 1984), the Highland Society of London Gold Medal, and almost every major prize available in both light music and piobaireachd.
As pipe-major of the 78th Fraser Highlanders, he made history by leading them in 1987 to become the first non-Scottish band to win the World Pipe Band Championship. In his nearly three decades leading the 78th Frasers, they won numerous prizes, performed internationally, and were known for their bold combination of tradition and innovation, always seeking to improve the form both technically and musically.
Bill has made several solo recordings, six pipe band recordings and two collections of music. Now in his seventies, he continues to compete as a piper with the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band and is in demand as a teacher and adjudicator around the world.