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James MacMillan awarded Knighthood in Queen's Birthday Honours

Leading Scottish composer, conductor and festival director James MacMillan (b.1959) has been awarded a Knighthood (Knight Bachelor) in the Queen's Birthday Honours, announced on 12 June 2015, for "services to music". This follows his CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) awarded in 2004.

James MacMillan made this statement following the announcement:
"I am totally delighted to receive this honour. I am especially pleased that the world of music, and contemporary composition in particular, will receive greater focus and recognition as a result. I feel encouraged and re-energised in my commitments in these fields and especially in my work with the new festival in Ayrshire, The Cumnock Tryst."

MacMillan’s music is widely performed around the world, from opera houses and top international orchestras to local church and community choirs. His Veni, Veni, Emmanuel is established as the most popular of all percussion concertos with close to 500 performances since its premiere in 1992, while his choral motet O Radiant Dawn was recently sung as the new tomb of Richard III was revealed. His music has strong Scottish roots, inflected with folk music and Gaelic psalmody, while his new festival, The Cumnock Tryst, sets out to bring active music-making back to the area in Ayrshire where he grew up.

Future highlights include the world premiere of his Symphony No.4 at the BBC Proms conducted by Donald Runnicles, and the first Scottish and US performances of his Percussion Concerto No.2 with soloist Colin Currie at the Edinburgh Festival and Cabrillo Festival in California. Forthcoming commissions include a Requiem, Stabat Mater and Trombone Concerto. MacMillan is internationally active as a conductor, particularly acclaimed for his interpretations of contemporary works by fellow composers.

About James MacMillan
Born in Ayrshire, Scotland in 1959, James MacMillan studied music at Edinburgh and Durham Universities. After working as a music lecturer at Manchester University he returned to Scotland and settled in Glasgow. His composing career was launched with the successful premieres in 1990 of Tryst at the St Magnus Festival and The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms, and his percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel was premiered by Evelyn Glennie in 1992.

Highlights in his extensive output include scores combining orchestral virtuosity, choral drama and meditative reflection, including Seven Last Words from the Cross, Quickening, the St John Passion and St Luke Passion. Recent works include a sequence of highly acclaimed concertos, for soloists including violinist Vadim Repin, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, oboist Nicholas Daniel, violist Lawrence Power, and percussionist Colin Currie. His choral works range from complex multi-voice polyphonic pieces, through the simpler Strathclyde Motets, to Mass settings intended for congregational singing at weekly services.

MacMillan’s music has been featured at the Edinburgh, Bergen, Queensland Biennial, Aspen, Vancouver, Cabrillo and Grafenegg Festivals, and at a BBC MacMillan weekend in London including over 25 of his works. Over the past decade he has completed commissions for New York City Ballet, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, BBC Proms, Welsh National Opera, London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. His music is recorded on labels including RCA, Chandos, BIS, Hyperion, Naxos, Coro, Linn and Challenge Classics.

Plans for The Cumnock Tryst’s second festival in Ayrshire (1-4 October 2015) are announced on Tuesday 16 June.

The music of James MacMillan is published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes.

> Read the full press release as a PDF

> Further information about James MacMillan 
> Visit James MacMillan on Facebook and Twitter

>  Further information on Work: Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Photo: Philip Gatward

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