Book launches in Edinburgh, Cumnock and Aberdeen

August 12th, 2019 274 comments

This week I will be taking part in the first of three book launches for The Music of James MacMillan at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Edinburgh – further book launches will take place at The Cumnock Tryst in October and at the SOUND festival in November. The book launch this week will feature an interview between MacMillan and I as well as a general Q&A.

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‘There is no rose’ published by Music Sales

July 27th, 2019 1 comment

It was really nice to see my carol There is no rose (2013) available as a separate publication from Music Sales. This is one of my most performed works and is now available to purchase here.

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The Music of James MacMillan

June 9th, 2019 93 comments

I recently received my copies of The Music of James MacMillan and they look amazing! It was a strangely overwhelming experience leafing through the book, something that I had first imagined back in 2006 and had spent the past two years intensely working on. It will take a while to sink in, but I’m going to put it in my top five things I’m proudest of producing. Obviously my children are the top two. Obviously…! The book is published on the 21 June and is available from all good bookshops. There will be launch events in Edinburgh, Cumnock and Aberdeen later this year.

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On The London Festival of Contemporary Church Music…

May 6th, 2019 857 comments

I’m going to begin this with an admission: I’m not a very collaborative composer – some composers are, and I admire them for that – but I am not. As I approach my fortieth year I think I’ve collaborated with poets, librettists, directors or producers at maximum 10 times, and have never struck up a lasting collaboration that has resulted in multiple pieces or projects. That’s not to say that it wasn’t fun whilst it lasted, but most of the time I work in a solitary fashion, except from my twin companions: university admin and noise from children. Maybe it will happen one day, and I’ll find my Hofmannsthal or Da Ponte, but for the moment I’m happy in my lonely travails. Read more…

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The Month Ahead

April 28th, 2019 280 comments

There are various performances of my work taking place in May and June, particularly as part of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music. On the 11 May Il Suono will perform Invocation (2010) with the trumpeter from the work’s first performance, Simon Desbruslais in Hampstead with a performance of my organ work Exsultet (2014) the following day at St Pancras Church. On the 19th Eton College Choir will perform the work I wrote for them in 2012, Second Service [Eton College] as well as the English premiere of Locus iste (2017). The Harry Ensemble will tour two works of mine, Nunc Dimittis (2017) and Dream Tryst (2018) to Iceland on the 25-27 May. This period ends with the English premiere of The Twilight People (2017) in Oxford on the 15 June given by Jubilate, conducted by James Potter.

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The Month Ahead

January 30th, 2019 77 comments

There are a few performances of my music taking place in the next month, beginning with the Scottish premiere of Two de la Mare Songs (2012) in Aberdeen on the 30 January. Jillian Bain Christie (who gave the Scottish premiere of Lakesongs last year) will be accompanied by Ben Marsden. On the 27 February the university chapel choir will give the Scottish premiere of my recent Fourth Service (2018). Looking further ahead will see a further performance of the Fourth Service in Dundee, the UK premiere of For He is Our Peace (2016) in London, the premiere of Dream Tryst (2018) in Canterbury and performances of Green Grow the Rashes, O! (2016), Ave verum corpus (2008), Invocation (2010), Second Service (2012) and the English premiere of Locus iste (2017).

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Excellent Reviews of ‘Star of Heaven’

January 9th, 2019 36 comments

The reviews of Star of Heaven have been unanimously good, and the kind words about my work Ave Maria, mater Dei have been overwhelmingly positive. Recent reviews have
seen the BBC Music Magazine referring to ‘Phillip Cooke’s…Ave Maria, mater Dei is enticingly ethereal thanks to a pair of off-stage trebles intensifying its incantatory allure’ and The Gramophone stating ‘a particularly sumptuous setting by Phillip Cooke where two offstage sopranos swirl around a wonderfully atmospheric and transportive choral texture.’

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Review of 2018

January 2nd, 2019 107 comments

2018 was a slightly different year for me, still full of successes across my professional life, but one with a very different focus from previous. As a composer, the highlight was the commission, performance, broadcast and recording of Ave Maria, mater Dei a new work commissioned by the Genesis Foundation for The Sixteen. The performance by The Sixteen and the choristers of Eton College, in the chapel at Eton in May was a real highlight, and one that will stay in the memory for a long time. The critical response to the piece has been overwhelmingly positive and I look forward to other choirs trying the piece out in future concerts. Other highlights saw the commission and broadcast of my Fourth Service at this year’s London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, as well as premieres and performances in the USA, Poland, Holland and Ireland.

Read more…
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On Bob Chilcott’s ‘The Shepherd’s Carol’…

December 19th, 2018 392 comments

As always, I try to write a festive blog entry every year in the vain hope that it might be the apex of someone’s holiday season; the signal that Christmas has really started, and the festivities can begin. I’m joking. I do it because I love Christmas music and I’m stuck into a pattern of doing this every year. But it gets harder and harder each time to find interesting music to write about, particularly because as time passes I know more and more of the composers who’s pieces I might consider – it becomes harder to be objective. But then I don’t know Bob Chilcott, so I thought I’d write about his lovely The Shepherd’s Carol, one the most beautiful recent carols written for King’s College, Cambridge. Read more…

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New Promo Photos

December 15th, 2018 141 comments

I recently had some photos taken of me for a new brochure at the Department of Music at the University of Aberdeen. I’m sort of smiling…


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