I was born in Manchester in 1956. I graduated from Manchester University in 1978 and received a Fellowship in Composition from Trinity College of Music,London in October 1980.
My interest in composing began when I was fourteen and developed at University, where I specialised in this area. Although largely self-taught, I consider myself to be an "eclectic" composer, able to write in many styles and formats, as befits the occasion.
Compositions to date include 2 Concerti for Orchestra(No.2 premiered by the BBC Philharmonic under Edward Downes in May 1983 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3), 2 Symphonies, a ballet suite “The Legend of Pandora”(premiered in July 2017), Double Concerto for 2 Tubas and Orchestra(premiered in September 2018), Bass Clarinet Concerto(premiered in March 2019), chamber and vocal music.
“Renaissance Dance Suite" will be premiered in December 2021 by Derby Concert Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Trout, and “Sanctus and Agnus Dei” for women’s voices and ensemble will also be premiered in 2021 and receive a second performance during 2022.
I am always interested in new challenges, having recently composed a work for theremin, vibraphone and double bass for the theremin player Carolina Eyck. If you would like to commission a particular work from me, then please contact me with details.
During May 2020, I was the recipient of an Arts award from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation. I have also been offered a digital recording contract with Orpheus Classical.
In October 2020, I was a runner-up in the King Lear Arts Competition Chairman's Prize for the best music entry.
In December 2020, The Sydney Contemporary Orchestra String Quartet premiered my String Quartet No.2 as part of Sydney's International Composers Concerts.
I have recently got to know the music of Frederick Naftel, and have been impressed. He began his career over 30 years ago and had some initial and justified success, but a busy life and work has got in the way of this continuing, until recently.
Now in his retirement he has returned to the full time attention he has always wanted to give to the art of composition. His most successful works to date include 2 Concerti for Orchestra, No.2 being premiered by the BBC Philharmonic under Edward Downes in May 1983 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. His more recent work is beginning to attract attention again and gradually they are being performed more and more.
A couple of significant record companies have also expressed interest in making recordings of his work. Last year he received an Arts award from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
What I like most about his music is its eccentricity and fierce individuality. He certainly has a clear and defined voice - his music does not fit into any fashionable aesthetic camps, and therefore stands out because of that. In his busy working life perhaps he was unable to devote the time and energy necessary to develop his style. However, that opportunity is now available to him, and one is never to old to blossom as a composer. I feel that he may now be prepared for that opportunity, and his compositional energies seem fresh and ready. Perhaps he is about to pick up the threads he left lying in his twenties.
I feel that he would benefit from any encouragement from the musical world, the profession and from performing musicians. Commissions for new works would be the perfect encouragement to get his creative life re-energised. I have no hesitation in giving him all my support.
Sir James MacMillan CBE