Tag Archives: Donald Thomson

Meet Award-Nominated Composer Donald Thomson

Meet Composer Donald Thomson EVC Music

There is truly a piano piece in these books for everyone.

Donald Thomson is a talented Scottish composer whose Celtic Piano Series, Celebrating the Beauty of Scotland, published by EVC Music (www.elenacobb.com) has been nominated for a major national award by Music Teacher magazine in the Best Print Resource category at the MusicExpo in London in February 2018. This popular series so far include three books: A Borders Suite, A Hebrides Suite and Scottish Waters. 

Since its launch at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Edinburgh, the Celtic Piano Series is now included in the Contemporary Composer category in several International piano competitions in the USA, Austria and the Elena Cobb Star Prize at the British and International Federation of Festivals. Several pieces will be premièred at the Winners’ Concert at the Royal Albert Hall on April 5th, 2018. 

Donald, who currently lives in Ormiston, East Lothian, studied piano at the RSAMD in Glasgow (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and since moving to the Edinburgh area 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 in Innerleithen. Within this book are lyrical, slow tunes, a quick jig dedicated to a family Border Collie called Brodie, and a dazzling depiction of the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall, near Moffat. 

The second book, A Hebrides Suite, was inspired by 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 seas, lochs and rivers of Scotland. The Silvery Tay is side by side with a dramatic and technically demanding depiction of The Corryvreckan Whirlpool, a brooding and turbulent Legend of Loch Ness and a jaunty tune called The Guddly Burn which always makes his audiences smile. 

In addition to composing, Donald is demand as a freelance music typesetter (MacMusic), producing scores for many well-known music publishers. Recent commissions have included producing a full orchestral score for a recording by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on Hyperion Records, 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. And if this wasn’t enough, he also sings Bass with the Edinburgh Bach Choir. 

Outside of his musical interests, Donald is a member of Edinburgh and District Advanced Motorcyclists (EDAM) and is often to be seen touring the country aboard his trusty Triumph, seeking inspiration for his latest compositions.

Click on the cover of each book to go to the product page with previews and audio to appreciate beautiful music by Donald Thomson. 

A Borders Suite for piano by Donald Thomson A Hebrides Suite for piano by Donald Thomson Scottish Waters Donald Thomson EVC Music

60-seconds Interview with the Composer

Dogs or Cats?
Bach or Mozart?
Composing at the piano or in your head?
At a keyboard, attached to my computer; then fine-tuned on a ‘proper’ piano.
How old were you when you had your first music lessons?
6 years old (from my mother)
Morning person or night owl?
Morning person
Favourite city?
Edinburgh (and Paris)
Facebook or Twitter?
Workout or night out?
Night out (but it has to be somewhere quiet!)
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee in the morning, then tea for the rest of the day.
Read an online article of Edinburgh Evening News.

Scottish Waters by Composer Donald Thomson Launch at Blackwell Bookshop Edinburgh

Donald Thomson Scottish Waters Launch EVC Music

EVC Music is delighted to announce that the third piano book by Donald Thomson Scottish Waters will be officially launched on October 14th at 2 pm in Blackwells Bookshop, South Bridge in Edinburgh. The composer will be performing all five pieces from his brand-new collection for piano as well as talking about the places which feature in the music.

The Scottish musician Donald Thomson is a talented composer. His inspiration comes from Scotland’s landscapes and seascapes, and his fans often describe his music ‘as a breath of a fresh air in the new educational repertoire’. The style of Thomson’s piano works is ‘Contemporary Scottish’ and the pieces in his three collections from the Celtic Piano Series –  A Borders Suite, A Hebrides Suite, and Scottish Waters – are all original compositions that are uncompromisingly steeped in the style and mood of traditional Scottish melodies: slow, lyrical ballads and quick, jaunty jigs and dances. Scottish Waters is available to order on our website at £7. To preview, listen to the piano works and to order please click here >.

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Composer Donald Thomson Celebrates the Beauty of Scotland by Launching His New Book ‘A Hebrides Suite’ in Blackwell’s Edinburgh

Celtic Series Launch Blackwell's Edinburgh

I am delighted to announce that A Hebrides Suitea new book by Scottish composer Donald Thomson will be officially launched at the event hosted by Blackwell’s Edinburgh on July 11th, Saturday at 2pm. 

A Hebrides Suite is a collection of original piano pieces for Intermediate level, where composer depicts some of his favourite places in the wild, windswept islands of the Hebrides, an area of Scotland rich heritage and stunning natural beauty.

Donald Thomson’s first book in the Celtic Piano Series, A Border’s Suite, has many fans around the world and receives five star reviews:

by Swan (Canada)
“A beautiful compilation of early intermediate pieces, inspired by the British countryside, these musical sketches range from gentle and lilting tunes to lively and brisk dance-type melodies. There is truly a piece in here for everyone- very versatile!”

Both books are available to purchase at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Edinburgh or on this website Music by Donald Thomson.


Celtic Piano Series International Launch

Celtic Piano Series Launch

There are several regions where Celtic languages are still spoken to some extent as mother tongues. The four are Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Breton; plus two recent revivals, Cornish (one of the Brythonic languages) and Manx (one of the Goidelic languages). ‘Celtic Piano Series’ composers wrote their pieces using a language of music and it can be understood by all.

I am delighted to announce that preparations are on the way for the official launch of the ‘Celtic Piano Series‘ Internationally! Three events will be taking place on Saturday, January 23rd where three brand new books for intermediate level piano will be introduced to the public. Three books in the series include original works and arrangements of the traditional Celtic tunes, If you are near the venue, please come-along and hear composers will be performing their pieces for the first time. Donald Thomson A Border’s Suite, at Blackwell’s in Edinburgh, Scotland, Jenny Walker Irish Streams at Simmonds Music in Grantham, England and Barbara Arens Piano Celtico at Piano Centrum in Leipzig, Germany. 

Jana Pojanovskaja will be also taking part in the recital in Leipzig’s launch and Liz O’Malley will be reciting Robert Burns’s poetry in the presentation in Edinburgh. The date for the introduction of new Celtic Piano Series near the day of the Robert Burns Night, celebrated around the world on January 25th, just felt right!

Celtic Piano Series Launch Edinburgh

A Borders Suite by Donald Thomson on YouTube




YouTube link will be added shortly.

Celtic Piano Series Launch with ‘A Borders Suite’ For Piano By Donald Thomson

Celtic Piano Series

A Borders Suite for piano by Donald Thomson Piano Celtico by Barbara Arens

With the release of  A Borders Suite by Scottish composer Donald Thomson, I am launching a brand new project – ‘Celtic Piano Series‘ for intermediate piano solo. Needless to say that pieces in this new series were inspired by Celtic and Gaelic traditional music.

‘A Boarders Suite’ For Piano By Donald Thomson

Five original piano pieces from ‘A Borders Suite’ are aimed at student in intermediate level or 4-6 ABRSM and AMEB. This brand new book is available as a digital download with studio licence at £25 and hard copy – £7, available to pre-order. Currently, both options are on introductory offer. Please go to FAQ page to read more about shipping and book formats. 

‘Piano Celtico’ By Barbara Arens

Piano Celtico‘ by Barbara Arens is now released, please check out the book page.

Robert Burns Night Piano Recital

Celtic Circle Series

The idea of creating ‘Celtic Piano Series’ for piano came from the famous Robert Burns Nights. Without a doubt, this event is hugely popular around and January 25th marks the annual celebration of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns. People gather together for Burns Supper where Robert Burns poetry is recited and Celtic and Gaelic music is played. Robert Burns themed piano recital with pieces from ‘A Borders Suite‘ by Donald Thomson and ‘Piano Celtico‘ by Barbara Arens in the programme, would create an excellent performance opportunity and add another dimension to your students repertoire.

Composer’s Inspiration

Celtic Circle Series

Donald Thomson:
‘A Borders Suite’ portrays several places I regularly visit in the Scottish Borders, usually enjoying the twisty roads and spectacular scenery from the seat of my Triumph motorcycle.

The first piece, Heriot Water, depicts the beautiful landscape near Heriot, and the small, bubbling river that runs through the village.

Brodie is a Border Collie who lives in Heriot and loves nothing more than chasing sticks and splashing about in the river. You can hear his excited barking in the central section of this piece.

Innerleithen Air depicts the pretty town which sits on the banks of the River Tweed. The church is where my wife’s brother was married (I composed two of the pieces for this occasion), and in the central section you can hear the bells pealing.

At this point, my journey takes a diversion to the east, to take in the ruined abbey at Melrose, before we retrace our steps to Innerleithen, head south-west and journey a further twelve miles, passing St Mary’s Loch and arriving at the spectacular Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall. Can you hear the water cascading down the gorge?

I have performed these pieces to several appreciative audiences and they all agreed that they capture the flavour of the Scottish Borders perfectly.”

Meet Composer Donald Thomson

Donald Thomson composer

Donald Thomson lives just a stone’s throw from the cultural delights of Edinburgh, but also a short journey from some of the most beautiful scenery that Scotland has to offer, and it is from this that he draws his musical inspiration. He studied the piano at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and after graduating started teaching. An opportunity in music publishing presented itself in 1993 and thus he began a 22 year career with one of the UK’s leading publishers of church music. In February 2015 Donald decided to develop his career as a freelance music engraver, arranger and editor, in the process discovering his hitherto unrealised talent as a composer.