Bagpiper John Angus MacLellan should not be confused with Angus John MacLellan, another Scotsman of at least equal status in this genre; admittedly, this might be problematic for people who have problems seeing straight after listening to more than a few minutes of bagpipe music. Since the dawn of the new millennium one easy way to tell the two apart is that the former is dead, the latter still living and breathing, much of that air flowing into bagpipes, needless to say. John Angus MacLellan's son Colin MacLellan has also made a career for himself as a piper.
A captain, John Angus MacLellan was the director of the British Army School of Piping and has also taught at the National Piping Centre and the College of Piping, both located in Glasgow. Besides his playing activities he has had a remarkable teaching career, publishing all manner of instruction books for the bagpipe. From this perspective, he tends to be the first bagpiper students come face to face with, at least on paper. He began teaching at the College of Piping in the mid-'60s, working alongside the legendary Seumas MacNeill. MacLellan was a guest instructor at piping summer schools throughout North America including schools established byMacNeill in California.
In the '90s, physical problems caused a slowdown in his travel activities, although he still taught daily at a nearby college and was involved in selected performances. Following his death in 2000, a trust in his name was established, beginning with an endowment from his widow, Christine "Bunty" MacLellan. The award is intended to stimulate new pibroch compositions through an open competition.