The Glasgow School of Art Choir is delighted to announce that Creative Scotland has awarded part-funding to enable it to commission Sir James MacMillan, CBE, to compose a new choral work which will be premiered by the ensemble at the re-opening of the Mackintosh Building.

Creative Scotland has awarded National Lottery funding of £4,000 which, together with support from The Glasgow School of Art, will allow the choir to proceed with the project.

“Sir James MacMillan is internationally recognised as one of the foremost composers of today,” says Musical Director, Jamie Sansbury. “We wanted to mark the re-opening of the Mackintosh Building in a very special way and what better way to celebrate the re-opening of a creative masterpiece than with the World Premiere of a work by such an eminent composer? We are thrilled that Creative Scotland has recognised the cultural significance of this project.”

“People are thrilled and perhaps a bit surprised when they hear that The Glasgow School of Art has a choir of seriousness and commitment, but it only shows that culture is fluid, and that lovers of art can embrace interdisciplinary inspiration,” says Sir James MacMillan, CBE. “Jamie Sansbury is a gifted and motivational young choral director and he inspires admiration and resolve from his choristers. I have been impressed with the sounds his choir make and am delighted that they have asked me to write for them. I’m proud that the new piece will mark the reopening of this important building. This is a project of hope and determination to overcome the disaster which befell the school in 2014.”

Sir James MacMillan, CBE, and Musical Director, Jamie Sansbury, on a tour of the Mackintosh Building in June 2015.

Sir James MacMillan, CBE, and Musical Director, Jamie Sansbury, on a tour of the Mackintosh Building in June 2015.

“We are incredibly proud of the GSA choir.” says GSA Director, Professor Tom Inns. “Their performance of the commission from Ken Johnston and Liz Lochhead was one of the highlights of the opening of the Reid Building in 2014. We are delighted that Creative Scotland has now supported their commission from Sir James MacMillan for the re-opening of the Mackintosh Building.”

Ian Smith, Head of Music, Creative Scotland said: “The project takes the text from the words of former GSA Director, Fra Newbery, whose vision brought the genius of Charles Rennie Mackintosh to design the Mackintosh Building, and brings them to this contemporary setting to music commissioned from Sir James MacMillan, one of Scotland’s most iconic composers. Creative Scotland is proud to support this new work and this performance by the GSA Choir.”

Lyrics for the commission have been taken from a poem written by Francis (Fra) Henry Newbery which is held in the archives of The Glasgow School of Art and permission for its use has very kindly been granted by his family and estate. Fra Newbery was the Director of the School from 1885 – 1917, and was instrumental in both the commissioning of the Mackintosh Building and the appointment of Charles Rennie Mackintosh as its designer.

Photo by Alan McAteer

The Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art, which was damaged by fire in May 2014. Photo by Alan McAteer.

For further information, visit the MacMillan/Mackintosh project website, or contact Kate Hollands on 0141 566 1446 or k.hollands@gsa.ac.uk;

For further information on the Mackintosh Building contact Lesley Booth on 0779 941 4474 or press@gsa.ac.uk;

The piece will be published and distributed by Boosey & Hawkes. For further information on Sir James MacMillan contact Ines Correia at ines.correia@boosey.com;

For further information about Creative Scotland visit their website.

Photo by Robin Mitchell

Sir James MacMillan, CBE. Photo by Robin Mitchell.