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Ian Lowthian's Music Weekends

All about Ian

What's Ian been up to then?


Ian Lowthian was born and bred in the Scottish Borders, learning the piano accordion initially from Bill Sharp (or Mr. C as he was known!). With Bill, Ian learned mostly continental music, French musettes and Italian Polkas but also some light classical pieces arranged for standard bass accordion and of course some Scottish music. Bill also ran an Accordion Orchestra which Ian enjoyed being part of.


Later Ian went up to Edinburgh to have lessons with Chrissie Leatham. Chrissie introduced Ian to jazz and taught him loads about chords and how to play '2nd Box' (an accompaniment skill used in Scottish Dance Bands).


After some time with Chrissie Ian won the under 14 Classical music competition and Chrissie decided it was time he had lessons with her son, Owen Murray. As many of you will know, Owen is now professor of accordion at the Royal Academy of Music. With Owen, Ian learned to play the 5 row button accordion with free bass and carried on his studies with him at the Academy in London. Ian was one of the first accordionists to graduate on the accordion in Britain. Whilst at the Academy Ian learned transcriptions of early keyboard music any many contemporary pieces especially written for the free bass accordion. In fact, he worked closely with the student composers creating new works. For technique practice Owen taught Ian lots of Russian and Eastern European music.


Whilst in London Ian worked with 'La muse de Montparnasse' a French Cabaret ensemble doing French songs and lots of Cole Porter etc. He also ran his own Scottish Dance Band playing every weekend for the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society at their Balls all over the South of England.


Whatever his musical ambitions were, in his last year at Music College he met Catriona Macdonald (Shetland Fiddle Player) and he was catapulted into the traditional music scene, touring throughout the world and extensively in the UK. Through this work he taught at many workshops and Summer Schools and has been doing so ever since.


He has since worked with many artist on the traditional music scene and has worked as session musician on many recordings, most notably with Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) on his album 'Kill to get Crimson' and the score of the film 'A shot at Glory'.


He is a prolific composer of mainly traditional music and has composed many pieces for children's ensembles and folk orchestra. He is constantly making arrangements for Folk bands in the schools.


He now has the most wonderful job working in the schools doing creative projects with children. Song writing, composition, recordings etc. He also works with children with additional learning needs using technology and instruments especially created to facilitate music making for them.


Ian still finds time to have his own private teaching practice and run his own progressive ceilidh band.

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