Jonathan Henken was captivated by the Highland Pipes at the age of ten during a concert by the Black Watch on one of its North American tours. He began his band career with the oldest pipe band in the United States, Yonkers Kiltie, then joined Mount Kisco Scottish Pipes & Drums as a charter member. He was named Pipe Major in 1990 and continues to head this 48-year-old band today. Under his leadership, the pipe band has become the official band of the New York State St. Andrew’s Society, performed frequently for the Westchester Conservatory of Music (NY) and Town of New Milford (CT) at summer concerts, and has led the Annual Tartan Day parade in New York City.
Trained as an oceanographic engineer, teacher, and cabinetmaker, Jonathan made his avocation his vocation when he was named Piper for Highland Express Airways, the Scottish airline, in 1987. He has been Piper for the Bank of Scotland on this side of “the pond,” frequently appears at Explorers’ Club functions in New York City, and has been guest soloist with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.
Since 1996, Jonathan has been the Forbes Corporate Piper, appearing on the Forbes yacht The Highlander in venues from the East Coast to the Great Lakes to the Bahamas, as well as at other Forbes business and family functions. He has performed for Princess Anne and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, made guest appearances with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, The Doansburg Ensemble, Ars Antiqua, Eclipse, and opened the off-Broadway tribute “Musical Response to September 11th.” He has also performed solo concerts annually for more than 30 years with Downtown Music at Grace Church in White Plains.
In 2011, Jonathan performed at the Costume Institute’s gala benefit for the opening of the exhibition “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Much of Jonathan’s day-to-day work celebrates personal landmarks: birthdays, christenings, weddings, anniversaries, funerals and memorials. He has played at such diverse occasions as the 90th birthday of a World War I Highland soldier, a weekend long wedding at an Adirondacks camp, Orthodox Jewish weddings in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, and a funeral at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Additionally, he plays annually at commencement ceremonies, bonspiels (aka curling tournaments), as well as golf outings and benefits, including the AT&T Steven A. Cox Charity Golf Tournament at Fiddler’s Elbow, New Jersey National, and surrounding courses. Also on his schedule: corporate events, boat parades, and other special occasions, among them, the Ann Taylor fashion show at the Plaza Hotel.