Sir James MacMillan

Guest Conductor


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’s prolific output includes The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, and four symphonies. Recent major works include his Percussion Concerto No.2 for Colin Currie and his Stabat Mater.

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, Bergen Philharmonic, and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra among others.

Highlights of the 2018/19 season include conducting the Belgian premiere of his Trombone Concerto with Antwerp Symphony Orchestra in November 2018, with UK, Swiss and Scottish premieres of the work throughout the season. Elsewhere this season MacMillan conducts the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers and London Philharmonic Orchestra, where he also continues to mentor the Young Composers Scheme.

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.