James MacMillan read music at Edinburgh University and took Doctoral studies in composition at Durham University with John Casken. After working as a lecturer at Manchester University, he returned to Scotland and settled in Glasgow.
The successful premiere of Tryst at the 1990 St Magnus Festival led to his appointment as Affiliate Composer of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Between 1992 and 2002 he was Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series of contemporary music concerts. MacMillan is internationally active as a conductor, working as Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic between 2000 and 2009, and appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic from 2010. He was awarded a CBE in January 2004.
James MacMillan was awarded a Knighthood in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday honours. He is published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes.
My Little Mass is a setting of three of the smaller sections of the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) for young voices and orchestra. Nevertheless each movement is reasonably substantial, with much space for the orchestral music to grow and develop. In fact a lot of the vocal writing was imagined as an extension and enhancement of the orchestral palette where the young voices are ‘smudged’ into the orchestral sound in an impressionistic manner. James MacMillan
Commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society for their 175th Anniversary, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Supported by Sally, Mary and Jonathan Groves to mark the centenary of Sir Charles Groves, in the month he would have celebrated his 100th birthday.
Little Mass received its world premiere on 28th March 2015 at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.