Gow Places & People

Clan Gow People

Portrait of famous 18th century fiddler Niel Gow by Sir Henry Raeburn

Niel Gow (1727-1807)
When he was born in Strathbran in Ross & Cromarty, Gow was destined for a life of weaving the tartan, but his passion for playing the fiddle was unstoppable. With the support of both Stewart of Grandtully and the Duke of Atholl, he became a professional player. His performances were hugely successful in London and Edinburgh, as were the musical manuscripts for his original works.

More than his interpretations, it is his own work that is most highly regarded today.

Nathaniel Gow (1763-1831)
Perhaps his father was a good teacher, or perhaps fiddle-playing is hereditary, but the oldest of Niel Gow’s sons, Nathaniel, became another great contributor to Scottish fiddle music.

Thanks to the environment his father had risen to, Nathaniel had the opportunity to be taught composition by Joseph Reinagle. He was the Edinburgh Assembly’s orchestra leader from 1791, playing for George IV on his 1822 Edinburgh visit.

Publishing his own and his father’s work made him among the period’s most successful in the market.