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Dr Duncan MacLeod

Lecturer in Music


Duncan MacLeod is a composer whose compositional output encompasses concert music, cross-arts collaboration, computer music and electro-acoustic composition.

Duncan MacLeod is a composer whose compositional output encompasses concert music, cross-arts collaboration (experimental film, fine art and contemporary dance), computer music and electro-acoustic composition. Recent projects have included experimentation with temperament, spatialisation and spectral analysis.

Duncan read music at Bath Spa University going onto study composition with John Woolrich at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He continued with postgraduate studies in composition with sonology at the Royal Conservatoire, The Netherlands, under the tutelage of Louis Andriessen, Clarence Barlow and Martijn Padding. He is currently near completion of his PhD in Composition under the supervision of Prof. Michael Finnissy at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance.

Duncan’s work has been commissioned, performed, commercially recorded and broadcast across Europe and North America by professional ensembles and soloists at various prominent venues and festivals. These include performances by the Arditti Quartet, Bang on a Can Allstars, duoDorT, Goldberg Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Okeanos, Orkest de Volharding, Piano Circus, Quatuor Diotima and Tate Modern. He has also been composer in residence at the Handel House Museum, which resulted in a number of commissioned works that incorporate scored electronics, for the Pegasus Choir, Juice Vocal Trio and harpsichordist Jane Chapman.

Duncan has previously taught at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance (Trinity College of Music), Goldsmiths College (University of London), and The University of Hertfordshire.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Halsall, K., Dacey, S. and MacLeod, D. (2017). Performance with Trio SoundKarD. [Concert].
Poppy, A. et al. (2016). Miniaturised Concertos / Mache. [CD].
MacLeod, D. and Weh, J. (2015). The Cries of Peckham Rye. [Film]. Available at:
MacLeod, D. (2014). Cut, Strike, Throw, Grip. [Score].
MacLeod, D. (2014). Surface to Surface. [FLAC]. Available at:
Showing 5 of 13 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]
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Compositions & Performances

No Man is an Island (2016), for voice and electronics commissioned by Sarah Dacey and premiered at Non-Classical, London.

The Cries of Peckham Rye (2015), for Dulwich Folk Choir commissioned by Sarah Turner for her documentary film Public House premiered at the 2015 London Film Festival.

Cut, Strike, Grip, Throw (2014), for two keyboards and electronics, commissioned by Kate Halsall premiered at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Recorded and commercially released on Miniaturised Concertos | Maché, Metier Records, 2016.

Paralax (2013), electro-acoustic video installation utilising footage from the Chatham Historic Dockyard Video Archive, exhibited at Hack the Barbican, the Barbican Centre, London.

Surface to Surface (2013), 14 binaural acousmatic miniatures, commissioned by Tate Modern, London. This work is available to listen within the gallery and online.

Response (2012), a collection of miniatures for electronics commissioned and premiered by Tate Modern (London).

Practice (2012), electronics (sonic art & sound design) commissioned by choreographer Nicola Conibare, premiered at the Bonnie Bird Theatre, The Laban Centre (London).

Asymptotes (2012), for multiple choirs commissioned and premiered by Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society at the Royal Welsh College of Music (Cardiff) and Llandaff Cathedral, broadcast by BBC Radio 3.

Cronan an Dain(2012), for mezzo soprano, bass clarinet and electronics commissioned and premiered by Alison Wells and Ian Mitchell at SABRe symposium, Keele Univeristy (Keele).

Diesis (2011), for double bass and live electronics commissioned by the London Sinfonietta, premiered by Enno Senft in Hall 1, Kings Place (London).

Ellipse (2010),for two keyboards, fixed media and multichannel sound commissioned and premiered by duoDorT at the Komedia as part of the Brighton Festival and subsequently featured in their 2011 UK tour culminating at the Sonorities Festival, Queens University Belfast (Belfast).

ASK-IFF (2010), for vocal trio and electronics, for Juice vocal trio commissioned and premiered at the Handel House Museum (London).

The New Atlantis (2010),for harpsichord, film and live electronics for Jane Chapman, commissioned and premiered at the Handel House Museum (London) at Liverpool University, Kings Place (London) and by the composer at iPark, East Haddam (MA, USA).

Lumen(2009),for eight-part choir, commissioned by the Handel House Museum for The Pegasus Choir, premiered at the Grosvener Chapel (London).

Good Boy, Bad Boy (2009), for viola and multi channel tape for Paul Silverthorne premiered at Hall 1, Kings Place (London) as part of the London Sinfonietta’s Sonic Britain Festival, broadcast on ‘Hear & Now’ BBC Radio 3.

Ellipsis(2008) for six MIDI keyboards in just intonation, commissioned and premiered by Piano Circus at Hall 2, Kings Place, London with repeat performances at the Cheltenham Festival, Pump Room and as part of the ensembles 2011 USA tour; Colorado College (CO), Montclair State University (NJ) and Princeton University (NJ).

Fragment (2007), for chamber ensemble (fl, cl, vln, vla, vc & pn) for the New Century Players (USA), premiered at Dartington International Summer School, with repeat performance at REDCAT, Walt Disney Centre, Los Angeles (USA).

Recordings & Broadcasts

Asymptotesperformed by Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society broadcast on BBC Radio 3, December 2012

Diesis released on ‘New Music Show’ by London Sinfonietta Records, October 2012

Ellipse released on duoDorT’s EP ‘Triple Point’ on Squeaky Kate Music, November 2010

Good Boy, Bad Boy broadcast on ‘Hear & Now’ BBC Radio 3, November 2009

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Duncan MacLeod’s creative practice and research is primarily centred on the creative application of spatialisation, temperament and manipulation of timbre. A specific area of focus for this research involves concepts of spectator immersion and the blurring of spatial boundaries between performance platform and audience alongside challenging the traditional distinctions of high/low culture. This has led him to explore and develop approaches to reinterpreting formal environments such as the concert hall, as well as the utilisation of unconventional and unique performance spaces, such as clubs or museums. These strands reflect a broader compositional interest in the exploration and creative manipulation of music perception and cognition. New technology is therefore a key aspect of his research methodology. As such, he has research interests in the application of real-time digital signal processing/live electronics as an extension of acoustic instrumental technique, alongside exploring the interface between performer and computer.

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Duncan's current teaching portfolio is centred on composition and orchestration that encompasses areas that relate to contemporary music namely techniques and aesthetics; analysis; improvisation; performance practice; new notations; interdisciplinary practice; music technology and computer-aided composition. Moreover I teach and convene modules in electro-acoustic composition focusing on fixed/interactive media with live performer(s) and community music.

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Last Updated: 12/12/2016