With many major solo titles to his credit, successful books of music on the shelves, compositions in the repertoires of bands the world over, Michael Grey is undoubtedly one of the world’s foremost pipers.
Michael Grey, He received his early lessons at thirteen from George Walker of the 48th Highlanders of Canada and was a member of this illustrious band for three years. He studied under John Wilson, one of the twentieth century’s greatest players, and received extensive tuition from Bill Livingstone and John Walsh. He has four times won the North American Championship, the overall title at the Vancouver Indoor Meet twice, the Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal and that venue’s March, Strathspey & Reel and Former Winners’ MSR on the same day. In 1989 he won the aggregate championship at the Cowal Highland Gathering. He has seventeen times won the professional Ontario Championship Supreme awards for both classical (pibroch) and light music. In 1995 he won the Toronto Piper’s Society Knock-Out final; in 2003 he again won this testing event – for the third year in succession.
Since his early piping years Michael has been a prolific and innovative composer. Evidence of this remarkable composing success is apparent in the on-going popularity of his tunes with bands and individuals at the major competitions: at 1990′s World Pipe Band Championship in Glasgow, there were more examples of bands performing Grey’s tunes than any other composer, living or dead. In 2001 he was commissioned by Piper & Drummer magazine to compose a new pibroch aimed at pushing the musical boundaries of the traditional form.
A founding member of the 1987 World Pipe Band Champion 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band, he left that organization in 1995 and became Pipe Major of Peel Regional Police Pipe Band, one of the world’s top bands. In 1999 Michael left the PRP Pipe Band to focus on solo piping; this same year he won the Scottish Piping Society of London’s (UK) Strachan Cup and again was the aggregate winner of the Vancouver Indoor Meet.
In 2003 Michael consulted with renowned composer John Beckwith on Beckwith’s commission for pipes and orchestra, “A New Pibroch”. Grey performed the piece’s premiere in March 2003; the piece aired in June of that year on CBC Radio 2.
An adjudicator, workshop leader and a serious student of written pipe tunes and their composers, Michael has five published books of music and nine solo recordings including the December 2009 release, “Unqualified Favourites“. His fifth book, “Music for Everyone“, was published in November 2006 and is currently available free online.
In October of 2007 he joined the premier grade Toronto Police Pipe Band in the roles of music director and Pipe Sergeant and left the band in September 2013.
His sixth book of music, “Damned Suites and Other Music”, was released in limited edition form, November 30, 2012.
He is currently at work on his tenth solo recording, a still-to-be-named acoustic project produced by super talent Matt MacIsaac.