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Features > The bridge builder

28 February 2018 | by Joanna Moorhead

The bridge builder

 

Whenever he hears someone describing classical music as “elitist”, James MacMillan winces. He knows why they say it; but he also knows they’re wrong.

The biggest name in sacred music in Britain, and one of the world’s leading living classical musicians, owes it all to his maternal grandfather – a coal miner. He played the euphonium in the colliery band, and he introduced the young Jimmy to the joys of music-making, an epiphany from which the composer never looked back. For as long as he can remember, he was making up music as well as playing it. “From the moment I was given my first plastic recorder, I was composing for it,” he says.





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