Hugh Macdonald studied music, specialising in composition and ethnomusicology, at the universities of Edinburgh and Amsterdam and at the Royal College of Music, and taught in universities in Hong Kong and Scotland for ten years. He joined BBC Scotland as a music producer in 1985, became Head of Music in 1991, and in 1996 (following reorganisation) Director of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Hugh saw his long-held vision for the BBC SSO to move to Glasgow City Halls realised when the orchestra took up residence in the restored building in January 2006. Since leaving the BBC he has been active as a lecturer, writer and broadcaster, and held a visiting professorship at Strathclyde University, 2006-8. He is co-artistic director of the Lammermuir Festival.
Born on the kitchen table, University Avenue, Glasgow while my father Erik Chisholm was in Amsterdam, the soloist in an International Society for Contemporary Music Festival Performance of his Dance Suite for Orchestra and Piano, music influenced my life from the word go. In those pre-war years, my father and mother Diana were involved in a linked society which brought over 200 composers to Glasgow, many of whom stayed in our home. The onset of WW2 changed that and my father was away for most of the war years, working with various orchestras, entertaining the troops.
Life changed fundamentally in 1946 when my father was appointed to the Chair of Music, University of Cape Town where my mother, sisters Shelia and Fiona and I joined him. My school days were followed by six years at the UCT Medical School where I met and married a fellow student Ralph Wright.
A devastating blow was the sudden death of my father in 1965, still in Cape Town at that time. Neglect of his many compositions (12 operas, many piano, choral and orchestral works) followed, earning him the soubriquet of "Scotland's Forgotten Composer".
On my retirement in 1998, I considered either working in medicine in Africa or working to promote my father's music. Having been in the world of medicine from the age of 16, I thought an adventure in the world of music the better idea and set up the Erik Chisholm Trust in 2001. With the help and support of my fellow trustees the Trust is still going strong in 2013.
Martin Dalby was born in Aberdeen in 1942. He was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and in 1960 won a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London where he studied composition with Herbert Howells and viola with Frederick Riddle. In 1963 the Octavia Prize and a Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarship enabled him to spend two years in Italy where besides composing he played the viola with a small Italian Chamber Orchestra. With this orchestra he toured widely in Europe and North Africa. In 1965 he was appointed as a music producer to the BBC’s newly formed Music Programme (later to be Radio 3.) In 1971 he became the Cramb Research Fellow in Composition at the University of Glasgow and in 1972 returned to the BBC as Head of Music, Scotland where he began the development of the public profile of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, both in Great Britain and abroad, which increases as time goes on. In 1991 he relinquished this post in order to pursue a more creative role in BBC Scotland. A result of this was the production, amongst other things, of BBC Scotland’s massive radio history, Scotland’s Music. He won a Sony Gold Award for it. In 1993 Dalby retired from the BBC and now composes full time.
He has written a large amount of music: for orchestra, for chorus, for brass and wind bands, for the Church, for film, radio and television, many songs and song cycles, and chamber music ranging from duos and trios to octets and nonets. Most of it has been commissioned: from festivals such as Edinburgh , Cheltenham, Cardiff , Orkney and Peterborough , or from orchestras and ensembles. It has been performed widely throughout the world notably at such festivals as the Warsaw Autumn and the Henry Wood Proms in London.
Michael Spring grew up in Falkirk and developed a love of classical music in his early teens. After initial university studies in philosophy and biochemistry he realized he could make his hobby his career and continued with postgraduate work in music, receiving a Masters in Music from the University of East Anglia where he researched performance practice in early piano recordings and trained as a classical recording engineer and producer.
Michael has worked in the record industry for 28 years, 25 spent at Hyperion Records. In addition to running the commercial side of Hyperion’s business, he has been responsible for most of the recent piano output. He brought such pianists as Stephen Hough, Marc-André Hamelin and Steven Osborne to the label and created the hugely successful Romantic Piano Concerto series that currently stretches to more than 60 volumes. Projects for which he has been responsible have won seven Gramophone awards; two going on to become 'Record of the Year'.
In 2005 he took over the APR label, which specializes in re-issuing historic piano recordings; recent projects have included the complete recordings of Moriz Rosenthal and Percy Grainger and a major retrospective of the pupils of the great British teacher Tobias Matthay.
In 2014 Michael left Hyperion to focus more on his own label APR and to work in the record industry on a freelance basis. He has also recently served on the jury of piano competitions in Canada and Germany and given talks on historic pianism in Glasgow and Hamburg.
He was delighted to be involved in the Hyperion recording of the Chisholm piano concertos and looks forward to doing all he can to bring more of Chisholm’s music before the public.
David’s background is in engineering but due to the economic climate prevailing in the early 1970s, he became a secondary school teacher. He was given early retirement after nearly 33 years in teaching.
He has always had an interest in music, learning to play violin from an early age and singing in choirs. In the early 1970s he was a member of the Greenock-based “Toad Choir” and which won what is now the "Choir of the Year" competition. He currently sings in three different choirs.
Every summer, David helps out at Chetham's International Piano Summer School in Manchester, where there is "a feast" of piano music performed by members of the Faculty, comprised of highly respected pianists from across the globe.
Michael Jones celebrated 40 years of musical life in 2011 . In addition to his recital at Wolverton Manor last April, Michael also gave recitals in London, the Midlands (including Piano Concertos by Grieg and Geoff. Cummings-Knight), and a playing for the Lord Mayor of London (not Boris!) at the Mansion House. Most recently Michael played in a chamber concert given with Berlin friends in the Gerhard-Jacobi-Saal, Charlottenburg, Berlin in June in a programme which included the Trio by Louise Farrenc (1804-75),a French composer being re-discovered. This brings his total of composers performed in 40 years to 350, including 150 British composers, and 52 premieres.
Born in 1942, John Purser is the author of the biography of Erik Chisholm, and has been closely involved in the promotion of his works for several years, including writing liner notes for Chisholm’s complete piano works, on Dunelm, and for Hyperion’s recording of the two piano concertos.
He is the author of Scotland’s Music (Edinburgh 2007), and is an award-winning composer, poet and playwright.
He is a Researcher and Lecturer at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College on the Island of Skye, where he lives and crofts with his American wife, Barbara.
Further information is available at www.johnpurser.net.
I am a granddaughter of Erik Chisholm and a daughter of Morag Chisholm. I have been a trustee since the beginning of the trust and have now taken over as the chair since June 2013.
I believe that the music of a prolific, energetic and talented composer such as my grandfather has to be heard. His unique contributions should be made available to music lovers around the world. He was also a fascinating man who achieved much to promote the music of others and with whom I believe I share values.
The drive for performing and listening to music permeated our family. At age six I started piano followed by ‘cello and double bass. The double bass has fitted me best and bass players are in demand. I enjoyed leading the bass section of an excellent youth orchestra and now, after a gap of years, I play bass in jazz bands in north London.
Professionally I have worked as a doctor, leader and manager in public health in London since 1990. My work is to develop policies and programmes to improve health and to reduce health inequalities. I live in north London with my partner.