Sir James MacMillan is one of today's most influential composers, as well as a conductor who works all around the world. His musical language is inspired by his Scottish roots, Catholic faith, social consciousness, and strong relation to Celtic folk music, as well as Far Eastern, Scandinavian, and Eastern European music. After the remarkable performance of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms in 1990, MacMillan achieved international attention. Since then, his prolific work has been conducted and transmitted all over the globe. The percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, which has received over 500 appearances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich, and five symphonies are among his main compositions. His Percussion Concerto No.2 for Colin Currie, co-commissioned by the Philharmonia Orchestra, Edinburgh International Festival, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, S Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and his Symphony No.5, composed for The Sixteen, are but a couple of his latest major works. MacMillan has a thriving reputation as a conductor of his own music as well as a wide variety of modern and traditional repertoire and is celebrated for bringing the composer's insight to each score. He has directed orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Until 2013, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie, and from 2000 to 2009, he was Composer/Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic.
In October 2014, MacMillan established The Cumnock Tryst, a music festival that takes place every year in his hometown of Ayrshire. In 2004, MacMillan received a CBE, and in 2015, he was knighted. MacMillan also directed many of his own works for Chandos, BIS, and BMG, most notably a Challenge Recordings sequence featuring Colin Currie and the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie, including MacMillan's violin concerto A Deep yet Sparkling Darkness and percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel. His recording of MacMillan's Stabat Mater was nominated for a Gramophone Award and won the Diapason d'Or Choral Award in 2017. His latest update on Harmonia Mundi conducting Britten Sinfonia featured his Oboe Concerto and won the 2016 BBC Music Magazine Award; in 2017, The Sixteen's recording of MacMillan's Stabat Mater was nominated for a Gramophone Award and won the Diapason d'Or Choral Award.
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