Scottish composer John McLeod dies aged 88

(Courtesy of Herald Scotland)

Born in 1934 in Aberdeen, Scotland, John McLeod BCE has written music for several mediums, including film and television. In 1970 he moved to Edinburgh.

He first studied the clarinet in London royal academy of music (RAM) with Jack Brymer, Reginald Kell and Gervase de Peyer. He then moved on to composition with Sir Lennox Berkeley and was also mentored by Polish composer Witold Lutosławski.

McLeod’s many accolades include the Guinness Prize for British composers, a RAM scholarship and the Gold Badge of the Ivors Academy. His CBE was awarded as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honors in 2016 and he received an Honorary Doctor of Music from the University of Aberdeen in 2019.

His music has been performed internationally, including by the Philharmonic Orchestra, the hall, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (SSO BBC), Royal National Orchestra of Scotland (RSNO), as well as soloists and ensembles across Poland, Germany and the United States. It has also been shown on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, BBC TV and Channel 4.

McLeod’s success in his later years included the London premiere of his work, The dances of the sun as of 2014 BBC Proms performed by the BBC SSO under conductor Donald Runnicsfollowed by sound out of silence – a Scottish Chamber Orchestra committee led by Joseph Swensen.

“John was passionate about life and music and this is reflected in his colorful and thought provoking orchestral, vocal and instrumental works which have been commissioned, performed and recorded by leading orchestras and soloists around the world”, his website administrator wrote.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Scottish composer John McLeod,” RSNO tweeted. “John has had a long association with the RSNO – most recently recording with us for the 2018 release of out of silence. We were fortunate to be able to work with such exceptional talent. RIP John.

Our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. McLeod.


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