Sir James MacMillan
Sir James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful living composers and is also internationally active as a conductor. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Roman Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended together with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music. 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, placing him in the front rank of today’s composers. His major works include percussion concerto “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel”, which has received more than 400 performances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich, large scale choral-orchestral work “Quickening”, and four symphonies. Recent major works include his new opera “The Sacrifice”, premiered by Welsh National Opera and conducted by MacMillan, and his “St John Passion”, premiered by the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis in 2008, with performances in 2009 and 2010 by co-commissioners the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony and Rundfunkchor Berlin.
The Red Roots of Folk Music
The project of European high modernism in music has not looked kindly on “insular” rummaging forays into local folk music, especially on the Celtic fringe. The very localism of this instinct is an affront to the cosmopolitan sophistication which the international avant-garde was to develop over time.