Rory Boyle studied composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as well as piano, clarinet, organ and conducting.
Whilst he was still a student he won the BBC Scottish Composers’ Prize. Other awards include; a British Composer Award, Creative Scotland Award, RPS Music Award and the Zaiks Prize in the International Competition.
He is currently a tutor in Composition and Creative & Contextual Studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Muckle Flugga, a small rocky island north of Unst in the Shetland Islands, is the northernmost point of the British Isles. The name comes from old Norse "Mickla Flugey" meaning ’large steep-sided island’, and, according to local folklore, two giants, Herma and Saxa, fell in love with the same mermaid and fought over her by throwing large rocks at each other, one of which became Muckle Flugga. To get rid of these rivals, the mermaid offered to marry whichever one followed her to the North Pole but both drowned since neither could swim.
In 1854 Thomas and David Stevenson started to build the lighthouse on Muckle Flugga, ostensibly to protect British ships during the Crimean War but also to prevent all sailing vessels from floundering in this wild and dangerous place. For much of the time the lighthouse was being built, the weather was so violent that the sea crashed over the summit of the rock taking materials with it, and the workmen had to crawl outside on their knees for fear of being pitched off the rock and out to sea. Evidently, from the day it was finished in 1857 to this day, the lighthouse has not let in a drop of water such was the brilliance of this pioneering Stevenson family whose lighthouses can be seen all around the Scottish coast.
After a short introduction, the music deals with giants, the drowned, and the lighthouse, all in the context of the wild seas and violent winds which are indigenous to this rocky outcrop.
Commissioned by the Scottish Brass Band Association Muckle Flugga was premiered as a test piece at the European Brass Band Championships, Perth Concert Hall on 2nd May 2014.
Click Here to listen to the full work.