James MacMillan is the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation. He first attracted attention with the acclaimed BBC Proms premiere of _The Confession of Isobel Gowdie_ (1990). His percussion concerto _Veni, Veni Emmanuel_ (1992) has received over 500 performances worldwide by orchestras including London Symphony Orchestra, New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics and Cleveland Orchestra. Other major works include the cantata _Seven Last Words from the Cross_ (1993), _Quickening_ (1998) for soloists, children's choir, mixed choir and orchestra, the operas _Inès de Castro_ (2001) and _The Sacrifice_ (2005-06), _St John Passion_ (2007) and _St Luke Passion_ (2013).
He was featured composer at Edinburgh Festival (1993), Southbank Centre (1997), BBC’s Barbican Composer Weekend (2005) and Grafenegg Festival (2012). His interpreters include soloists Evelyn Glennie, Colin Currie, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Vadim Repin, conductors Leonard Slatkin, Sir Andrew Davis, Marin Alsop and Donald Runnicles, and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. His recordings can be found on BMG/RCA Red Seal, BIS, Chandos, Naxos, Hyperion, Coro, Linn and Challenge Classics.
Recent highlights include premieres of MacMillan’s _A European Requiem, Stabat Mater_ for The Sixteen, a _Trombone Concerto_ for Jörgen van Rijen with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the armistice oratorio _All the Hills and Vales Along_, first heard at the Cumnock Tryst festival founded by the composer in his childhood town in Scotland.
James MacMillan 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. MacMillan is internationally active as a conductor, working as Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic between 2000 and 2009, and appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic from 2010. He was awarded a CBE in January 2004.
In addition to _The Confession of Isobel Gowdie_, which launched MacMillan's international career at the BBC Proms in 1990, his orchestral output includes his first percussion concerto _Veni, Veni, Emmanuel_, premiered by Evelyn Glennie in 1992 and which has since received over 500 performances worldwide. MacMillan's music has been programmed extensively at international music festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival in 1993, the Bergen Festival in 1997, the South Bank Centre's 1997 _Raising Sparks_ festival in London, the Queensland Biennial in 1999, the BBC Barbican Composer Weekend in 2005 and the Grafenegg Festival in 2012. A documentary film portrait of MacMillan by Robert Bee was screened on ITV's South Bank Show in 2003.
Works by MacMillan from the 1990s also include _Seven Last Words from the Cross_ for chorus and string orchestra, screened on BBC TV during Holy Week 1994, _Inés de Castro_, premiered by Scottish Opera in 1996 and given a second production in 2015, a triptych of orchestral works commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra: _The World's Ransoming_, a _Cello Concerto_ for Mstislav Rostropovich, and _Symphony: 'Vigil'_ premiered under the baton of Rostropovich in 1997, and _Quickening_ for vocal ensemble, chorus and orchestra, co-commissioned by the BBC Proms and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
MacMillan works composed in the 2000s include _Piano Concerto No.2_ first performed with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon at New York City Ballet, _A Scotch Bestiary_ commissioned to inaugurate the new organ at Disney Hall with soloist Wayne Marshall and the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, and _The Sacrifice_ premiered and toured by Welsh National Opera in 2007. His _St John Passion_, co-commissioned by the LSO, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Radio Choir, was premiered under the baton of Sir Colin Davis in 2008.
The past decade has brought a successful sequence of concertos: for violinist Vadim Repin, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet (his third piano concerto), oboist Nicholas Daniel, violist Lawrence Power, percussionist Colin Currie (his second percussion concerto) and trombonist Jörgen van Rijen. Orchestral scores have included _Woman of the Apocalypse_ premiered by Marin Alsop at the Cabrillo Festival and _Symphony No.4_ premiered at the 2015 BBC Proms. Works with choir include a festive setting of the _Gloria_ (to mark the 50th anniversary of the consecration of Coventry Cathedral), _St Luke Passion_ for chorus and chamber orchestra, _A European Requiem_ for soloists, chorus and orchestra, _Stabat Mater_ for choir and string orchestra, _The Sun Danced_ for soprano, choir and orchestra, his setting of wartime poetry _All the Hills and Vales Along_ for tenor, choir, brass band and strings, and the 40-voice motet _Vidi aquam_. His one-act chamber opera _Clemency_ has been performed in London, Edinburgh, Boston and Amsterdam. 2014 saw MacMillan launching a new annual music festival in his home town of Cumnock and in 2017 a city-wide celebration of his music took place in Glasgow.
In terms of recordings, the Koch Schwann disc of _The Confession of Isobel Gowdie_ and _Tryst_ won the 1993 Gramophone Contemporary Music Record of the Year Award, and the BMG recording of _Veni, Veni, Emmanuel_ won the 1993 Classic CD Award for Contemporary Music. MacMillan discs on the BIS label include the complete _Triduum_ conducted by Osmo Vänskä, the clarinet concerto _Ninian_ and the trumpet concerto _Epiclesis_. A MacMillan series on Chandos with the BBC Philharmonic includes _The Berserking_, _Symphony No.3: 'Silence'_ which won a Classical Brit award in 2006, _Quickening_ and _The Sacrifice_. Other acclaimed recordings include _Mass_ and _Seven Last Words from the Cross_ on Hyperion, _Stabat Mater_ on Coro, and discs on the Naxos, Black Box, Linn, LSO Live and Challenge Classics labels.
James MacMillan was awarded a Knighthood in the 2015 Queen's Birthday honours. He is published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes.