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.
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.
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.