Donald is tuned in for musical success

An East Lothian musician who has recently had a series of three piano music books published has been shortlisted for a major national award.

Tuesday, 21st November 2017, 9:14 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 5:27 am
Donald Thomson is in the running for a national award
Donald Thomson is in the running for a national award

Donald Thomson, who lives in Ormiston, is a talented composer whose Celtic Piano Series, Celebrating the Beauty of Scotland, has been nominated for a major national award by Music Teacher magazine in the Best Print Resource category.

This popular series, published by EVC Music, so far include three books: A Borders Suite, A Hebrides Suite and Scottish Waters.

Since its launch at the Capital’s Blackwell’s bookshop the book is now included in the contemporary composer category in several international piano competitions worldwide.

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Several pieces from the book will be premièred at the winners’ concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall next April.

Donald studied piano at the RSAMD in Glasgow (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and since moving to East Lothian in 2006 has immersed himself in the music of Scotland, taking his inspiration from places he has visited.

He describes his style as “Contemporary Scottish”, taking the “flavour” of traditional music and giving it a modern twist.

The first collection of five pieces, A Borders Suite, was originally written as a Christmas present for his mother, an accomplished pianist and lifelong piano teacher, and grew out of a couple of short tunes that he had composed to play at a family wedding.

Within this book are lyrical, slow tunes and a quick jig dedicated to a family Border collie called Brodie.

The second book, A Hebrides Suite, was inspired by the composer’s visits to the islands and include musical pictures of a boat trip to Staffa, a lively take on the traditional “waulking songs” of Harris, and a carefree jig from Colonsay.

Scottish Waters, the third book in the Celtic Piano Series, was released earlier this year and draws on the composer’s affection for the sea, lochs and rivers of Scotland.

In addition to composing, Donald is in demand as a freelance music typesetter, producing scores for many well-known music publishers. Recent commissions include producing a full orchestral score for a recording by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the latest A level and GCSE music examination workbooks and various choral and organ works for the Royal School of Church Music.

As a pianist, Donald accompanies the Southside Choir and the Dalkeith Singers as well as occasionally joining forces with instrumental players and singers for solo recitals and examinations. He also sings bass with the Edinburgh Bach Choir.

Outside his musical interests, Donald is a member of Edinburgh and District Advanced Motorcyclists and is often to be seen touring the country aboard his Triumph, seeking musical inspiration.