Piper David joins musical icon André Rieu for sell-out Maastricht concerts

Acclaimed Sheffield-based musician David Barnard is normally best known for his skills at the piano and as a classical vocal coach.
David Barnard will be joining the André Rieu Orchestra this summerDavid Barnard will be joining the André Rieu Orchestra this summer
David Barnard will be joining the André Rieu Orchestra this summer

But it is his lifelong passion for the bagpipes that is introducing him to a whole new international audience as he joins global music icon André Rieu’s acclaimed Johann Strauss Orchestra to lead a massed band of up to 160 pipes and drums for 12 sell-out open air performances in André’s home town of Maastricht in the Netherlands this July.

David started playing the bagpipes at the age of eight when he was growing up in Australia.

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“Some of my earliest musical memories are as a bagpiper in Scottish pipe bands alongside my dad playing the tenor drum, but the piano took over at 18 when I was singled out as someone who could potentially form a career from classical music and the piano,” David said.

“The piping sadly took a backseat despite a solid pedigree in the instrument, but it has now come back to the fore and it is remarkable that in my early 40s it has returned to my life in such a significant and poignant way.”

David’s contract with André Rieu Productions will see him lead a massed-band of up to 160 pipes and drums, with players from the Netherlands, Scotland, Germany and England engaged as part of his core team as they play and march to the stage through Maastricht’s famous Vrijthof square.

“I worked with Mr Rieu in February and March this year in Romania and as pipe major had the joy of leading a pipe band made up of players from Germany, Hungary, Scotland and England, including five players from the City of Sheffield Pipe Band who represented our city so well – I was very proud of them!

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“Being a pipe major with my strong classical music background, means I can facilitate the needs of Mr Rieu and the needs of the pipe band, rehearse them and then get them working as one in performance.

“It really is surreal to be on stage with such an iconic orchestra and a diverse group of musicians but I will have a super team around me to help get everyone tuned, on stage and on time each evening.

“At this stage I am focussed on the logistical process of 160 players each evening, from eating, getting dressed, tuned, warmed-up and out into the square – and on cue.

“I’m sure once the first night is over, I will relax and savour the experience to the maximum.”

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David can more usually be found working with some of the leading opera singers of the UK and Europe.

His recent engagements include work with the Teatro Maggio Musicale in Florence and as regular visiting vocal coach on the post-graduate programme of the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, coaching some of the Uk’s leading up and coming classical vocal talent.

More information on David can be found at www.barnardpiano.com and information on the Maastricht performances can be found at https://www.andrerieu.com/en/maastricht-concerts-2023