Bagpiping - A Carnegie Mellon Classic

From the hills of Scotland to the golden triangle of Pittsburgh

campus life

Students from across the world are drawn to Carnegie Mellon for our extraordinarily well-regarded programs in the fine arts, technology, business, the sciences and the liberal arts. However, it’s fair to say that only a precious few of those students arrive in Pittsburgh ready, willing and able to play the pipes!

Aspiring and seasoned pipers alike have been selecting to attend Carnegie Mellon’s School of Music as Bagpipe Performance majors for over 75 years. Bagpiping, as an art form, has long been a unique part of our Carnegie Mellon traditions (thanks to the strong Scottish heritage of our founders Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon) and we are a perfect home for students who want to continue playing in a pipe band throughout their undergraduate years. Besides being one of only two schools in the U.S. to offer a 4-year degree in the art of Bagpipe Performance, Carnegie Mellon has its very own Pipes and Drums band made up entirely of current students and alumni.

Of course, with an instrument as unique as the bagpipes, you can end up with a range of projects and programs that are just as unique as the instrument that they involve! For instance, our School of Computer Science researchers created a robotic bagpipe player (perhaps fittingly named “McBlare”) that traveled across the pond to perform in Scotland at the Scottish Parliament in 2013!

Virtually any time of year you can hear students practicing their bagpipes in our University common areas (and they sometimes take performances outdoors for the whole neighborhood to enjoy!). From a standout performance at the 2014 Celtic Classic competition to our graduation ceremonies, the Pipes and Drum band is widely regarded as one of the most talented bagpiping performance groups in the United States.

Read more about the Carnegie Mellon Pipes and Drums or contact Andrew Carlisle, director of the Pipes and Drums band and our Bagpipe Performance program.