Donald Macleod talks to composer James MacMillan as he celebrates his 60th birthday

One of the UK’s most prolific living composers, James MacMillan was born on the 16th of July 1959 in Ayrshire. His grandfather introduced him to brass band music and his primary teacher taught him the recorder. The combination of these musical experiences sparked a lifelong passion in James to make and create music of his own. As well as James’s journey into music, we’ll hear about the birth of James’s political and religious views, and his critiques of Scotland which finds their way into his writing. Donald and James discuss the importance of the composer’s connection with his listeners and performers. His festival, the Cumnock Tryst, brings musical sharing to his community in Ayrshire, and his religious music continues to bring solace even in very difficult family times.

Music featured:
The Storm (Into the Ferment)
Berserking (1st movement)
It is Finished (Seven Last Words from the Cross)
The Confession of Isobel Gowdie
For Ian
Cantos Sagrados (Identity)
The Reproaches (Cello Concerto)
Veni, Veni Emmanuel
A Scotch Bestiary
Tenebrae Responsories
Clemency: Sarah’s Lament
Piano Concerto No 2 (3rd movement – Shamnation)
O Radiant Dawn (Strathclyde Motets)
Oboe Concerto
The Sacrifice: Act III, Scene 3
Domus Infelix Est – An Unhappy House
Prelude (St Luke Passion)
Benedicimus Deum coeli (Strathclyde Motets)
Violin Concerto (3rd movement – Song and Dance)
Fac, ut portem Christi mortem (Stabat Mater)

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Rosie Boulton for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for James MacMillan

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here:

from Composer of the Week