Joseph Swensen was born in Hoboken, New Jersey and grew up in Harlem, New York City. He currently holds the post of Conductor Emeritus of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, where he was Principal Conductor from 1996-2005. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, in Spain, and Artistic Partner of the Northwest Sinfonietta, in the United States. He has served as Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris from 2009-2012 and has held positions at the Malmö Opera (2008-2011), Lahti Symphony, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Swensen is the Starling Professor of Music, violin, at Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Andrew’s University, Scotland, and was invited to give a TEDx Talk with the title “Habitats for Music and the Sound of Math,” about music education and the developing brain, at the New York Institute of Technology. Joseph and Victoria Swensen are the founders of Habitat4Music, a non-profit organisation devoted to establishing participatory music education programs for children in underserved areas worldwide.
Sir James Loy MacMillan completed his undergraduate studies in composition at the University of Edinburgh in 1981, where he studied with Rita McAllister and was introduced to the music of Stravinsky, Webern, Messiaen, and Russian composers Sofia Gubaidulina, Alfred Schnittke, and Galina Ustvolskaya. “During my [undergraduate] study, my main interest was studying the cosmopolitan masters, [like] Boulez and Elliot Carter… absorbing the modernist spirit and techniques,” he said. MacMillan continued his studies at Durham University under John Casken. While at Durham, Casken introduced MacMillan to the works of Polish composers, including Witold Lutosławski. James MacMillan has served as a professor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and composer-in-residence with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Other appointments include the position of visiting composer and artistic director of London’s Music of Today contemporary music series and Philharmonia Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and successor to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies as the BBC Philharmonic’s principal composer and conductor.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator