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Sir James MacMillan

Kirsty Young interviews composer and conductor Sir James MacMillan.

Sir James MacMillan is a Scottish composer and conductor. He's one of Britain's most successful living classical composers, with his percussion concerto, Veni Veni Emmanuel, receiving more than 600 performances since its premiere in 1992. He draws inspiration from both the spiritual and the secular: many of his works draw on his Roman Catholic faith, while his passion for Celtic football club provided the initial spark for a piano concerto.
James MacMillan grew up in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, traditionally a mining centre. His father was a carpenter, and his grandfather a coal miner. He learned the trumpet and played in brass bands, whilst realising at a very young age that he wanted to make music his life. When he first picked up a recorder at school, and realised that he could change the pitch by putting different fingers over the holes, he says a light went on and he knew that he wanted to write music as well as play it.

Presenter: Kirsty Young
Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Available now

37 minutes

Last on

Fri 13 Oct 2017 09:00

Music Played


    • Coro de monjes del Monasterio Benedictino de Santo Domingo de Silos

      Salve Festa Dies

      • Easter Chants.
  • Hubert Parry


    Performer: Kettering Citadel Band of the Salvation Army. Conductor: Richard Phillips.
    • Favourite Hymn Tunes of the Salvation Army Vol. 1.
    • 14.
  • Thomas Tallis

    Spem in Alium

    Choir: The Sixteen. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
    • Spem in Alium.
    • Coro.
    • 1.
  • Hawkwind

    Silver Machine

    • Sonic Boom Killers.
    • EMI.
    • 1.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Clarinet Quintet in A, K. 581, Larghetto

    Performer: Benny Goodman. Ensemble: Boston Symphony String Quartet.
    • Clarinet Concerto/Quintet.
    • RCA.
    • 2.
  • Richard Wagner

    Tristan and Isolde, End of Act 1

    Performer: Birgit Nilsson. Performer: Fritz Uhl. Performer: Regina Resnik. Performer: Tom Krause. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Georg Solti.
    • Tristan and Isolde.
    • Decca.
    • 1.
  • Jackie Oates

    Dream Angus

    • Lullabies.
    • 1.
  • Gerald Barry

    Freude, schöner Götterfunken

    Performer: Alan Ewing. Ensemble: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Conductor: Thomas Adès.
    • The Importance Of Being Earnest.
    • NMC.
    • 4.

    The Selected Poems of Michael Symmons-Roberts


    His piano


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest James MacMillan
Producer Sarah Taylor


  • Sun 8 Oct 2017 11:15
  • Fri 13 Oct 2017 09:00

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