Composers Course Personnel

Alasdair Nicolson

(SMCC Director) has written music for leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists and his works have been performed in concert halls and festivals all over the world, as well as being broadcast extensively on BBC Radio 3. Commissions have included works for the BBC orchestras, English National Opera, London Symphony Orchestra, the Nash Ensemble, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Alasdair was Composer in Association with the City of London Sinfonia from 1998 to 2005 and he has been Artistic Director of the Sound Inventors project. He has taught at the Britten Pears Summer School and cohosted the composition summer school which preceded this course held by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies on Hoy. He has also led workshops at many UK universities and conservatoires. Recent works have included pieces for Gabriella Dall’Olio, the Fidelio Trio, Pure Brass and the BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as an opera for the Hebrides Ensemble and Piano Concerto for Inon
Barnatan and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He is currently Artistic Director of St Magnus International Festival and was formerly Artistic Director of Bath International Music Festival.

Sally Beamish

(SMCC Associate Director) was born in London. Initially a viola player, she moved from London to Scotland in 1990 to develop her career as a composer. In 1994 and 1995 she was assistant to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies on the Hoy Composers’ Course. Her music embraces many influences; particularly jazz and Scottish traditional music. The concerto form is a continuing inspiration, and she has written for many soloists, including Tabea Zimmermann, Hakan Hardenberger and Steven Isserlis. Her music is performed and broadcast internationally, and since 1999 she has been championed by the BIS label, who have recorded much of her work.

Recent commissions include a concerto for percussionist Colin Currie, with the Bergen Symphony Orchestra, Scottish and Swedish Chamber Orchestras, and Stanford Lively Arts, California. Her string quartet for the Elias Quartet, Reed Stanzas, received its premiere at the 2011 BBC Proms, and won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. 2015 saw a new oratorio for the LSO and RSNO with poems by Andrew Motion as part of the World War One commemorations. She has also written a new full-length ballet for the choreographer David Bintley and the Birmingham Royal Ballet, premiered in 2016. In February 2012 Sally Beamish was BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week.

The Assembly Project

is a flexible ensemble of some of the UK's finest singers and instrumentalists, bringing together artists in collaborative, multidisciplinary performances. Created by composer Alasdair Nicolson and producer Bethany Alexander, The Assembly Project works with existing repertoire as well as creating, commissioning and developing new work.

The ensemble has given performances for Faversham's Magna Carta celebrations, the St Magnus International Festival, Palendriai Composers Course, Lithuania, with Faversham Voices and as part of Scot:Lands at Edinburgh s Hogmanay. Current projects include a brand new chamber opera, a community oratorio work and a concert with narrators and mime artists for children's audiences. 

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Meet the Artist: Alasdair Nicolson

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