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    James MacMillan Timeline

    A year by year alignment of MacMillan's life and works

    For works published by Boosey & Hawkes, links are provided to useful information including scorings, durations and repertoire notes.

     


     

    Born 16 July at Kilwinning in Ayrshire, Scotland, son of a joiner and a teacher (later social worker)


    1959
     

    The family moves to Cumnock where he attends the local Roman Catholic School


    1963
     

    Tuition in piano and trumpet soon leads to earliest compositions, including a small piano piece and some orchestral music


    1969
     

    Attends secondary school at Cumnock Academy where his musical activities embrace Renaissance church music. Meets future wife Lynne


    1973
     

    Studies music at Edinburgh University where Rita McAllister introduces him to Stravinsky, Webern, Messiaen and 20th century Russian music


    1977
     

    Begins postgraduate composition studies at Durham University with John Casken, and through ethnomusicology develops interest in gamelan


    1981
     

    Returns to Ayrshire working as a part-time teacher. Starts playing and singing Scottish and Irish folk music. Local political and welfare activities during miners’ strike.


    1983
    Beatus Vir for chorus and organ (withdrawn)
     


     
    The Road to Ardtalla for chamber sextet
     


     
    Three Dawn Rituals for chamber ensemble
     


     
    Wedding Introit for organ
     

    Sets The Tryst by William Soutar in the style of an old Scots ballad; the melody is to be a source of inspiration in many future works


    1984
     


    1985
     


     
    St Anne's Mass for unison voices and organ (or piano)
     

    Takes up a lecturing post at Manchester University


    1986
    Festival Fanfares for brass band
     


     
    Two Visions of Hoy for solo oboe and ensemble
     

    Awarded doctorate from Durham University. His music is performed for the first time at the Musica Nova festival in Glasgow.


    1987
    Untold for wind quintet (1987, rev.1991) 


    Returns to Scotland and settles in Glasgow, heralding an extremely creative period. Catholicism and political concerns meet in Búsqueda, a turning point in the composer’s output. Collaborations with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra begin through educational projects.

    1988
    After the Tryst for violin and piano
     


     
    Búsqueda for speaker, actors, sopranos and ensemble
     


     
    Into the Ferment for ensemble and orchestra
     


     
    Variation on Johnny Faa' for soprano, flute, cello and harp
     


     
    Visions of a November Spring for string quartet (1988, rev.1991) 
     

    Composer-in-Residence at the St Magnus Festival, Orkney, where Tryst is premiered by the SCO under Paul Daniel. Teaches his first composers’ course on Hoy with Peter Maxwell Davies. Tryst selected for broadcast by International Rostrum of Composers.


    1989
    Tryst for orchestra

     


     
    Cantos Sagrados for choir and organ or orchestra
     


     
    The Exorcism of Rio Sumpúl for mixed ensemble or chamber orchestra


    The Proms premiere of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Jerzy Maksymiuk is a momentous success, and its telecast boosts composer’s profile throughout UK. Búsqueda is performed at the Edinburgh Festival with Diana Rigg. Featured composer at Musica Nova in Glasgow where The Berserking is premiered by Peter Donohoe.

    1990
    The Berserking Concerto for piano and orchestra
     


     
    ...as others see us... for mixed ensemble
     


     
     


     
    Sowetan Spring for wind band
     


     
    Catherine's Lullabies for choir, brass and percussion
     

    Conducts The Confession of Isobel Gowdie with Philharmonia Orchestra in London and is subsequently appointed Visiting Composer. Tuireadh, written in response to the Piper Alpha oilrig disaster, is premiered at the St Magnus Festival by the Allegri Quartet and James Campbell. Featured composer at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Records the old Tryst song with his heroes of folk music, the Whistlebinkies. Attends performance of John Clifford’s play Inès de Castro and begins planning an opera.


    1991
    Scots Song for soprano and quintet or piano
     


     
    Tuireadh for clarinet and string quartet (or string orchestra)
     


     
    Divo Aloysio Sacrum for choir and organ (optional)
     


     
     


     
    intercession for 3 oboes or 3 saxophones
     


     
    Sinfonietta for orchestra or chamber orchestra


    Tryst tours England on the Contemporary Music Network. First recordings of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie and Tryst released on Koch Schwann: the disc wins a Gramophone Award. Writes Veni, Veni, Emmanuel for percussionist Eveyln Glennie which is premiered to great acclaim at the BBC Proms. Launches the Philharmonia’s Music of Today series of early evening concerts in London, developing his interest in music beyond the central European mainstream, including Celtic, Nordic and Far Eastern composers, and those emerging from behind the former Iron Curtain.

    1992
    Veni, Veni, Emmanuel Concerto for percussion and orchestra
     


     
    Barncleupédie for piano
     


     
    So Deep for choir with optional oboe and viola solos
     


     
    Visitatio Sepulchri for 7 singers and chamber orchestra (1992-93) 
     

    Featured composer at the Edinburgh Festival with 18 works performed, including premiere of Epiclesis by trumpeter John Wallace, a double-bill of Búsqueda and Visitatio Sepulchri, and Sinfonietta and The Confession of Isobel Gowdie conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Attends staged performances of Búsqueda in Wiesbaden. Recording of Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, the first under a new contract with BMG, wins Classic CD Award and Koch Schwann disc of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie and Tryst wins Gramophone Contemporary Music Record of the Year Award.


    1993
    Kiss on Wood for violin or cello and piano

     



     
    Angel for piano
     


     
    ...here in hiding... for 4 male voices or unaccompanied choir
     


     
    They saw the stone had been rolled away Fanfare for brass and percussion
     


     
    Memoire imperiale for orchestra
     


     
    Seven Last Words from the Cross Cantata for choir and strings
     


     


    Travels to hear German premiere of Veni, Veni, Emmanuel with Sian Edwards conducting the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and first US performances with Mstislav Rostropovich conducting the National Symphony in Washington and the Cleveland Orchestra under Jahja Ling. On the strength of the work, Rostropovich asks MacMillan to write two scores: a cello concerto for him to play and a symphony to conduct. Seven Last Words from the Cross televised nightly through Holy Week on BBC TV, and premiered complete in Glasgow. The overture Britannia receives over 30 performances by UK orchestras in the 1994/95 season.

    1994
    Ballad for voice and piano
     


     
    Britannia for orchestra
     


     
    Memento for string quartet
     


     
    Christus Vincit for unaccompanied choir
     


     
     


     
    Adam's Rib for brass quintet (1994-95)


    North American performances of Veni, Veni, Emmanuel with Evelyn Glennie during 1995/96 include New York Philharmonic (Slatkin), Boston (Ozawa), Milwaukee (Elder), Toronto (Saraste), Philadelphia (Andrew Davis), Detroit (Järvi), St Louis (Alsop), Los Angeles (Gershon), plus performances in Netherlands, France, Sweden, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Japan and Australia. Conducts all-MacMillan concert in Gdansk including new version of Tuireadh with string orchestra.

    1995
    Màiri for 16-part unaccompanied choir
     


     
    Seinte Mari moder milde for choir and organ
     


     
    The Children for medium voice and piano
     


     
    A Different World for violin and piano
     


     
    Inés de Castro Opera in two acts (1991-95)


    Premieres of The World’s Ransoming, the first of a triptych of commissions from the London Symphony Orchestra, and Inès de Castro by Scottish Opera at the Edinburgh Festival. The opera is a public success, but proves controversial for its blending of traditional narrative structure with postmodern musical style. Choreography of Confession of Isobel Gowdie by Mark Baldwin. Rostropovich is soloist in the Cello Concerto, with the LSO conducted by Sir Colin Davis.

    1996
    The World's Ransoming for orchestra, with concertante cor anglais (1995-96)
     


     
     



     
    A Child's Prayer for two treble soloists and unaccompanied choir
     


     
    The Galloway Mass for unison voices, choir (or cantor) and organ
     


     
    The Halie Speerit's Dauncers for children's choir and piano
     


     
     


     
    Ninian Concerto for clarinet and orchestra
     


     
    Í (A Meditation on Iona) for strings and percussion
     

    Veni, Veni, Emmanuel reaches 100th performance in five years since its premiere. Celebrates anniversaries of St Ninian and St Columba with Ninian for clarinetist John Cushing, and Í (A Meditation on Iona). Fourteen Little Pictures premiered by György Pauk, Ralph Kirshbaum and Peter Frank. Featured composer at Bergen Festival. Premiere of Symphony ‘Vigil’, conducted by Rostropovich, completes the LSO’s Triduum series. 20 works performed at Raising Sparks festival in London, named after song cycle for Jean Rigby and Nash Ensemble.


    1997
    Fourteen Little Pictures for piano trio

     


     
    The Gallant Weaver for unaccompanied choir
     


     
    Lumen Christi for piano
     



     
    Symphony: 'Vigil' for orchestra
     


     
    The Prophecy  for children's choir or high voice and instruments
     


     
    Raising Sparks Four songs for mezzo and ensemble
     


     
    Why is this night different?  for string quartet
     


     
    Changed for mixed chorus, organ, harp, string trio or any three like instruments
     


     
    Birthday Present for piano solo
     


     
    A New Song for SATB chorus and organ
     

    Premieres of Why is this night different? by Maggini Quartet, and orchestral version of Cantos Sagrados.


    1998
    Exsultet for brass quintet and optional percussion
     


     
     


     
    Quickening for soli (ATTB), chorus, children's chorus and orchestra


    1999
    Cello Sonata No.1 for cello and piano
     


     
    The Company of Heaven for children's choir, organ, wind band and optional carnyx
     


     
    Cumnock Fair for piano sextet, or string orchestra and piano
     


     
    Heyoka Te Deum for 3-part treble voices, flute, tubular bells and piano
     


     
    Magnificat for choir and organ, or orchestra
     


     
    Symphony No.2 for chamber orchestra
     


    2000
    For Ian for solo piano
     


     
    Mass (Original version) for choir (SATB) and organ
     


     
    Nunc Dimittis for choir (SATB) and organ, or orchestra
     



     
    Parthenogenesis Scena for soprano, baritone, actress and chamber ensemble
     


     
    From Galloway for solo clarinet
     


     
    Northern Skies Album of easy pieces for cello and piano
     


     
    Cello Sonata No.2 for cello and piano
     


    2001
    in angustiis... I for piano solo
     


     
    in angustiis... II for solo soprano, oboe or cello
     



     
    The Birds of Rhiannon Tone-poem for orchestra with optional chorus
     


     
    Tremunt videntes angeli for choir a cappella (SATB)
     


     
    Te Deum for choir and organ
     


     
    Dutch Carol for unison treble voices and piano


    2002
    A Deep but Dazzling Darkness for solo violin, ensemble and tape (2001-02)
     


     
    For Neil for piano solo
     


     
    25th May 1967 for piano solo
     


     
    O bone Jesu for chorus a cappella
     


     
    To My Successor for chorus a cappella
     


     

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