This page needs JavaScript activated to work.

Sir James MacMillan

Conductor
Composer of the Year, Pittsburgh Symphony (2016/17 season)

  • Sir James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful composers and is also internationally active as a conductor. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music.

Read more
  • MacMillan first became internationally recognised after the extraordinary success of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms in 1990. His prolific output has since been performed and broadcast around the world. His major works include percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, which has received close to 500 performances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich and four symphonies. Recent major works include his Percussion Concerto No.2 for Colin Currie, co-commissioned by the Philharmonia Orchestra, Edinburgh International Festival, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and, most recently, Symphony No.4, premiered by BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Runnicles, which receives its US premiere this season by Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck.


    MacMillan enjoys a flourishing career as conductor of his own music alongside a range of contemporary and standard repertoire, praised for the composer’s insight he brings to each score. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie until 2013 and was Composer/Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic from 2000-09; he has conducted orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Danish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra among others. MacMillan was Composer in Residence at the 2012 Grafenegg Festival and a London Symphony Orchestra Portrait Artist in the 2009/10 season.


    Highlights of the 2016/17 season include the world premieres of his Stabat Mater with the Sixteen and Britten Sinfonia, his Trombone Concerto with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and a new Horn Concerto arrangement. MacMillan will be the focus of a Glasgow-wide celebration of his music in March 2017 and as part of this he will conduct the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, who join the MacMillan festival alongside the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, BBC Radio 3 and the Nash Ensemble. Elsewhere this season MacMillan conducts the English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Flemish Philharmonic and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.


    In October 2014 MacMillan founded his music festival, The Cumnock Tryst, which takes place annually in his native Ayrshire. MacMillan was awarded a CBE in 2004 and a Knighthood in 2015.


    MacMillan has directed many of his own works on disc for Chandos, BIS and BMG, most recently a series on Challenge Records including MacMillan’s violin concerto A Deep but Dazzling Darkness and percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel with Colin Currie and the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie. His latest release on Harmonia Mundi with Britten Sinfonia included his Oboe Concerto and won the 2016 BBC Music Magazine Award.

    The works of Sir James MacMillan are published by Boosey & Hawkes.

    2016/17 season / 511 words. Not to be altered without permission.

Performances

View more
Close
Loading performances...

Conducting highlights & programmes

James MacMillan was Composer-Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic from 2000-2009 and of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonie from 2009-2013. In Spring 2014 MacMillan conducted three projects with the BBC Scottish Symphony including a the orchestra’s first tour to India. Highlights of the current season include a new production of his 1990 opera Ines de Castro with Scottish opera, Composer in Residence with the Sao Paulo Symphony where he conducts a choral programme, return conducting engagements with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and debuts with Bergen Philharmonic among others. In recent seasons he has conducted orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony and New Zealand Symphony.


Orchestral conducting programmes:


Britten Four Sea Interludes
MacMillan Credo
MacMillan The Sacrifice: Three Interludes
Vaughan Williams Symphony No.4


Adès Polaris
MacMillan Viola Concerto
Anderson Prayer
Turnage Frieze 


MacMillan The Sacrifice: Three Interludes
Elgar Cello Concerto
Vaughan Williams Symphony No.4


Rimsky-Korsakov Russian Easter Festival Overture
Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4
Wagner Good Friday Music
MacMillan The World’s Ransoming 


Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings
MacMillan St Luke Passion 


Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture, Op.26
Mozart Violin Concerto No.5
MacMillan Symphony No.3, ‘Silence’


Britten Prelude & Fugue op.29
Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1
MacMillan Seven Last Words from the Cross 


Ulvo Shadows and Shields (premiere)
MacMillan Viola Concerto
Mendelssohn Symphony No.3 in A minor, Op.56 'Scottish' 


Choral conducting programmes:


MacMillan After Virtue 
Gorecki Church Songs (selection) 
MacMillan Sun Dogs 
INTERVAL
MacMillan Cum vidisset Jesus  
MacMillan They Saw the Stone had been Rolled Away 
MacMillan Alleluia 
MacMillan Catherine's Lullabies 


Victoria Tenebrae Responsaries (excerpts)
MacMillan Sun Dogs  
INTERVAL
Poulenc Salve Regina / Ave verum corpus / Exultate Deo
MacMillan Mairi O bone Jesu

Residencies

Composer of the Year, Pittsburgh Symphony 2016/17
Composer in Residence, Grafenegg Festival 2012
Making Music Carnegie Hall, 2011
Principal Guest Conductor, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonie 2009-2013
London Symphony Orchestra Artist Portrait, 2009/10
Composer-Conductor, BBC Philharmonic 2000-2009

Compositions

James MacMillan is one of today’s most performed composers, with a rich catalogue of orchestral and choral music performed by leadings orchestras around the world. Recent years have brought a successful sequence of concertos by MacMillan: for violinist Vadim Repin, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet (his third piano concerto), oboist Nicholas Daniel, violist Lawrence Power and percussionist Colin Currie (his second percussion concerto). 2014 saw MacMillan launching Cumnock Tryst, a new music festival in his home town of Cumnock, Ayrshire.


The music of James MacMillan is published by Boosey & Hawkes


Selected work highlights:


Percussion Concerto No. 2 (2014)
Solo percussion and orchestra (soloist Colin Currie)


St Luke Passion (2013) 60'
SATB chorus, children's choir, organ and chamber orchestra


Viola Concerto (2013) 31'
Viola and orchestra (soloist Lawrence Power)


Oboe Concerto (2010) 23'
Oboe and chamber orchestra


Violin Concerto (2009) 25'
Violin and orchestra (soloist Vadim Repin)


Piano Concerto no. 3 (2008) 25'
Piano and orchestra (soloist Jean-Yves Thibaudet)


St John Passion (2007) 87'
Baritone, small chorus, large chorus and orchestra


The Sacrifice: Three Interludes (2006) 15'
Orchestral overture


Symphony No. 3: ‘Silence’ (2002) 36'
Orchestra


Seven Last Words from the Cross (1993) 45'
Cantata for chamber choir and strings 


Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (1992) 26'
Solo percussion and orchestra (soloists include Colin Currie)


The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (1990) 26'
Symphony orchestra

A towering performance by the BBC Philharmonic under the composer James MacMillan. He is proving a conductor of daunting ability.

Sunday Times

MacMillan conducted his own music that was ceaselessly inventive, evocative and penetrating...His estimable mastery of orchestral timbre and effect was evident throughout.

New York Times

How do we characterise the phenomenal concert given on Saturday night by the BBC SSO, with a string of premieres, all conducted by the man himself? The night featured music that was beguiling, intriguing, poignant, hilarious, electrifyingly exciting, challenging and, for those who know a little about MacMillan's music, comprehensively revelatory.

Herald

Intermusica represents Sir James MacMillan worldwide

Catherine Gibbs
Associate Director
+44 20 7608 9946
cgibbs@intermusica.co.uk

Maebh Lehane
Administrator, Artist Management
+44 20 7608 9924
mlehane@intermusica.co.uk

If you have any queries, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch soon

All artists

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Special projects

Charles Hazlewood

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Stage director

David Alden

Andreas Homoki

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles