‘Ave Maria, mater Dei’ in Cumnock and on CD

October 5th, 2018 No comments

The autumn sees the Scottish premiere of my motet Ave Maria, mater Dei (2017) that was first performed by The Sixteen and the Choirboys of Eton College at Eton in May this year. The performers will again be The Sixteen and will take place at The Cumnock Tryst music festival in Ayrshire on Sunday 07 October. The piece has recently been recorded by the choir and will be released on a CD entitled Star of Heaven on The Sixteen’s CORO label in November. Looking further ahead, there are performances of my song-cycle Lakesongs (2011) and my motet Nunc Dimittis (2017) in Aberdeen in November.

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New Videos

September 9th, 2018 No comments

With a forthcoming performance of my song-cycle Lakesongs on the horizon, I thought it a good time to revisit some of my other works in the genre and to create the rolling score videos to accompany these works. I’ve made videos for Lakesongs (2011), Sudden Light (2013) and Four Tonal Songs (1996) as well as the short choral work Wedding Introit (2013) that was performed last month. It was something to do…

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Revised Works

August 18th, 2018 No comments

As most of my creativity this year has been spent on my book, The Music of James MacMillan, I haven’t found the time to compose much, in fact nothing really. I did, however, find the time to revise four early choral works of mine from 2005-2010 which I felt were in need of a bit of love and attention. The four works were mainly from the beginning of my time in Oxford (and earlier): O magnum mysterium (2005), Three Marian Motets (2008), Whither Thou Goest (2008) and God is Our Strength and Refuge (2010). Most of the revisions I made were minor and cosmetic including some word underlay, swapping parts and a general tidy up. I made a bigger change to the middle of Whither Thou Goest as the syncopations had never made any sense. Previous versions of these pieces are still fine to perform from, but the newer versions are a bit better. PAC

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Composer in Residence

June 23rd, 2018 No comments

I recently took on the position of Composer in Residence with The Harry Ensemble, who I wrote the piece Veni Sponsa Christi for in 2015 and have since gone on to perform it many times in the UK, Norway, Sweden and most recently in Barcelona. The choir will perform my motet Nunc dimittis later this year and I will be writing them some new works in the coming years. Looking forward to working with the choir and their director Edward Rhys Harry.

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Head of Music

June 23rd, 2018 No comments

I have recently taken on the role of Head of Music at the Department of Music at the University of Aberdeen, where I have been working for the past five years. I shall be fulfilling this position for the next three years and hope to carry on the good work of my predecessors.

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The Month Ahead

April 30th, 2018 No comments

May is a month of premieres, performances, broadcasts and recordings. The Chor Akademicki Politechniki Warszawskiej will give the premiere of my new Magnificat on the 10 May in the university in Warsaw, this followed a week later (16/05) by the premiere of my Fourth Service [St Pancras] as part of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, which will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong. The month continues with the premiere of Ave Maria, mater Dei by The Sixteen and the choristers of Eton College at Eton (22/05, live streamed on Classic FM), with The Sixteen recording the work later in the month for CD release next year. The month ends with the King’s College Choir of Aberdeen performing Locus iste (26/05) and The Harry Ensemble giving the Spanish premiere of Veni Sponsa Christi (2015) in the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona on the 27th.

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The Month Ahead

April 10th, 2018 No comments

There a few performances of my works taking place this month in the UK and Poland. On Sunday (08/04) the Harlequin Singers will perform my second set of Preces and Responses (2012) in service at St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. The University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir will give the Polish premiere of Nunc Dimittis (2017) in a concert at Warsaw Cathedral on the 20/04 with a further performance the day after.

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The Music of James MacMillan

March 26th, 2018 No comments

I was very pleased to sign a contract last month with the publisher Boydell & Brewer for my monograph on James MacMillan to be published next year. I have been working on the book for over a year now and hope to have the manuscript finished in September this year. It will be the first book on MacMillan and has the working title of The Music of James MacMillan. Just another 40,000 words to write…

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The Month Ahead

February 3rd, 2018 No comments

There are a few performances of my works taking place this month across the country. The wonderful Chapel Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen (our university chapel choir) will give two performances of my new motet Locus Iste (7 and 11 February) in the chapel, conducted by John F. Hudson. On the 4th, the choir of the Holy Trinity Church, York will give a performance of Nunc Dimittis (2017) conducted by John Bradbury. On the 18th there will be another outing of my first setting of the Evening Service (2009) at Ely Cathedral. On the 24-25 I will be in Stroud in Gloucestershire to attend a weekend residential course with the Genesis Sixteen choir who will be working on my new piece Ave Maria, mater Dei before The Sixteen give the premiere in May.

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Review of 2017

January 1st, 2018 No comments

2017 was a good year for me with lots of exciting things happening across my career. It was a year of broadcasts, recordings and performances with the opportunity to work with many new people in interesting new places. I was lucky to be on sabbatical from my academic position for the first six months of the year which meant some concerted work on The Music of James MacMillan which is progressing well, with a 2019 publication date a possibility. I also gave two key-note papers at conferences in York and Warsaw as well as attending the Dutch premiere of Three Partsongs in Leiden in October. I was thrilled to be promoted to senior lecturer at work and have continued to help grow the fantastic Department of Music at the University of Aberdeen. There were performances in Dublin, Krakow, London, Oxford and four different US premieres (which included a competition win). There were three CDs released on which I had pieces, including a number one in the specialist charts by The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford. One of the highlights was the premiere of The Twilight People by the BBC Singers in November, with a broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2018. Hopefully 2018 will be just as successful and will also see the end of Brexit! PAC

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