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Sir James MacMillan

James MacMillan CBE read music at Edinburgh University and took Doctoral studies in composition at Durham University with John Casken. After working as a lecturer at Manchester University, he returned to Scotland and settled in Glasgow. The successful premiere of Tryst at the 1990 St Magnus Festival led to his appointment as Affiliate Composer of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Between 1992 and 2002 he was Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series of contemporary music concerts. He is internationally active as a conductor and in 2000 was appointed Composer / Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic. After The Confession of Isobel Gowdie launched his international career at the BBC Proms in 1990, MacMillan has achieved worldwide success with works such as the percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, premiered by Evelyn Glennie in 1992, Seven Last Words from the Cross, screened on BBC TV during Holy Week 1994, Inés de Castro, premiered by Scottish Opera and performed on tour in Porto in 2001, as well as a triptych of orchestral works commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra: The World’s Ransoming, a Cello Concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich, and the Symphony Vigil, premiered under the baton of Rostropovich in 1997. Most recently, Welsh National Opera gave the premiere of The Sacrifice in 2007, and in April 2008 his St John Passion, co-commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Radio Choir, was given its first performance under the baton of Sir Colin Davis. A documentary film portrait of the composer by Robert Bee was screened on ITV’s South Bank Show in 2003. James MacMillan was awarded a CBE in January 2004.

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