60 years of music
2019 is a festive year for Sir James MacMillan: at age 60 he is undeniably 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.
“One of the most remarkable things I’ve witnessed over time has been the emergence of superb professional choirs that have transformed the musical landscape and the lives of composers. Forty years ago, few serious composers thought much about choral writing: it was instrumental music that generated modernism. But that’s changed. And choral singing packs out halls.”
“I believe there’s an umbilical connection between music and the divine, but does God direct my hand when I put the notes on the page? I wouldn’t claim that. Nor can I look back over my output and see a guided, seamless progression. It’s more like I’ve just stumbled on from day to day with false starts, dead ends and a few mistakes.”