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Hilary de Vries

Composer & Songwriter

About Me Title Photo

About Me

I’m a Scottish composer and songwriter whose work is very much influenced by the Highland landscape where I live. My instrumental music is mainly for clarsach (Scottish harp), pipes and recorder, but many of my tunes also work well on other instruments including fiddle and guitar.

smallpipes photo

I play a 19 string wire-strung clarsach from Ardival Harps, Scottish and Northumbrian smallpipes, and recorder. My pipes are a set of Gruar smallpipes in D.

Together with renowned harpist and arranger Bill Taylor we released a book of my harp tunes ‘Heartstone’ to positive reviews. A book of my pipe tunes is due out later this year.


I’ve also worked with acclaimed poet and writer Kenneth Steven, most recently on a project based on the ancient Celtic legend of ‘Deirdre of the Sorrows’. I composed music in response to the poetry sequence by Kenneth to heighten and add to the emotion in the legend and help bring it to life. Bill Taylor arranged the music for performance, and it received its debut earlier this year in Glenbuchat in Aberdeenshire in front of a rapt audience.


Bill Taylor & Kenneth Steven performing

Bill Taylor & Kenneth Steven performing ‘Deirdre of the Sorrows’

‘Spellbinding’

audience member, Deirdre of the Sorrows

Much of my songwriting is in collaboration with others, including poet Aonghas MacNeacail, writer and poet Donald S.Murray, and Stuart Eaglesham. I enjoy writing music to other people’s words or finding the words in their music. Collaborating with different people brings a new perspective and energy that also benefits my solo work.


Ultimately, whether it’s song or instrumental, in collaboration or solo, fiddle or pipe, what music is for me is a means of expressing the world around me in a way that goes straight to the heart.

Hilary de Vries photo

Gaining inspiration from the land

Related Links


The Bagpipe Society

Northumbrian Pipers Society

Lowland & Borders Pipe Society

BASCA