One of the most recognisable voices in Scottish broadcasting, and a champion of traditional music, received an honorary degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Radio favourite Robbie Shepherd MBE was made an honorary Doctor of Music at the Royal Conservatoire’s St Andrew’s Day celebration concert in Glasgow on Sunday, November 26.
Robbie, who is being recognised for his passionate support of traditional Scottish music, entertained audiences of Take the Floor – the longest running show on BBC Radio Scotland – for 35 years before he stepped down as host in 2016.
Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, conferred the honorary degree during the concert which was recorded for broadcast by BBC Radio Scotland. It featured musicians from the Royal Conservatoire’s Traditional Music programme and its Artistic Director, Professor Phil Cunningham, alongside Braw Brass – the conservatoire’s unique fusion of traditional and brass musicians – and special guests.
Professor Jeffrey Sharkey said: “For more than three decades, Robbie entertained generations of traditional music fans on Take the Floor, his knowledge, enthusiasm and humour transmitting through the airwaves into thousands of homes across the country.
“Robbie is a great ambassador for Scottish traditional music and has devoted his career to supporting and promoting the genre and its artists and we are delighted to bestow upon him an honorary degree of Doctor of Music.”
Robbie was born in Dunecht in Aberdeenshire in 1936. He began his career as a management accountant before moving into broadcasting. He started on BBC Radio Aberdeen in 1976 and from 1981 presented Take the Floor. He also worked on TV, hosting Beechgrove Garden Roadshows and Grampian Sheepdog Trials amongst others. Robbie has written books on comedy and ceilidh dancing and writes a weekly Doric newspaper column. His contribution to Scottish traditional music, to Doric, and Scottish culture was recognised in 2001 with an MBE.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which is celebrating its 170th anniversary in 2017, is one of the world’s top three institutions for performing arts education (QS World Rankings 2017). Scotland’s national conservatoire is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of its groundbreaking BA Scottish Music degree, recently transformed as the BMus Traditional Music – the only Bachelor of Music programme dedicated to traditional and folk music in the UK.
A conference exploring the teaching and learning of traditional music in higher education on an international scale will be staged in 2018 as part of Celtic Connections, one of the world’s foremost festivals of Celtic music. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Celtic Connections and Glasgow UNESCO City of Music have joined forces to host the three-day conference during the annual winter festival of folk, roots and world music in Glasgow.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Pedagogies, Practices and the Future of Folk Music in Higher Education conference will also feature performances from Royal Conservatoire students, staff and international artists and will include agenda-setting creative conversations open to public audiences.