James MacMillan was appointed permanent guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic in September 2010.
He succeeded Peter Eötvös, who held the post of chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra from 1994 to 2005 and went on to serve as permanent guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic. Like his predecessor, MacMillan brings together all the qualities of an internationally renowned conductor and composer. MacMillan is also one of the most frequently performed composers today. Over the last few years, the ensembles of the Broadcasting Music Center have performed and recorded various works by him under his baton. Recordings of Visitatio sepulchri and Sun-Dogs have won unanimous acclaim in the music press. Regular releases of new recordings are scheduled for the coming years; these include the percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel and The Confession of Isobel Gowdie. With the latter work, MacMillan acquired an international reputation in 1990. Ever since, his music has been performed by many of the world’s leading orchestras, conductors and soloists, including the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Slatkin, the Philadephia Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis, the Detroit Symphony under the direction of Neeme Järvi and the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Born in 1959, MacMillan studied piano and trumpet, and began composing as a teenager. He studied music at the University of Edinburgh and composition at the University of Durham. He went on to teach at the University of Manchester for some time. Following the successful premiere of Tryst in 1990, he was appointed composer of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Between 1992 and 2002, MacMillan served as artistic director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series. He is active as a conductor all over the world. From the 2000–1 season up until his appointment with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, MacMillan worked as both a composer and a conductor with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester. He was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2004.