John McLeod is one of Scotland’s foremost composers and amongst the UK’s busiest and most prolific. He studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music with Sir Lennox Berkeley but later came under the influence of Witold Lutosławski who became his mentor. John has won many awards for his work including the Guinness Prize for British composers. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 1989 and was a recipient of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) Gold Badge in 2014. In June 2016 he was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
His works have been commissioned, performed and recorded by leading orchestras including the Philharmonia, Hallé, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (12 works broadcast) Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland (22 performances) as well as orchestras in Poland, Germany and the USA and by many ensembles and international soloists and conductors including Colin Currie, Peter Donohoe, Raimund Gilvan, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Mark Tanner, Murray McLachlan, Neeme Järvi, Joseph Swensen and Donald Runnicles.
In the past few years his output has increased dramatically and has included performances at the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, City of London and St Magnus Festivals, as well as major new works for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and pianist Murray McLachlan who performed his new Piano Sonata No.5 over 30 times throughout the world in 2014. A critically acclaimed CD of his chamber music, by the outstanding Red Note Ensemble, was released in 2015 by the award-winning label Delphian.
Recent commissions have included a new percussion work for Dame Evelyn Glennie’s 50th birthday, a choral work for Heriot-Watt University, a song-cycle for Live Music Now and a new Viola Concerto for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Jane Atkins.
You can also hear a selection of his works HERE
What the critics say:
The Sun Dances (at the Proms 2014) ‘A very fine score, wonderfully, surely orchestrated and engrossing from first bar to last’ Musical Opinion
The Song of Dionysius ‘music with colour and energy, both imaginative and idiomatic’ The Times
The Gokstad Ship ‘music with inspiration and power that overwhelmed the audience’ Goteborg Post (Sweden)
Percussion Concerto ‘McLeod has created music of real diversity and breathtaking virtuosity’ Nashville Banner (USA)
‘McLeod must be counted a major force in contemporary Scottish music’ The Scotsman