Ronald MacNiven

Ronnie MacNiven is one of Scotland’s most versatile musicians, working across a diverse range of fields and genres. After leaving school he studied trombone and composition at The Royal Academy of Music in London. Upon graduating from there he held several positions with ensembles around the world including The National Chamber Orchestra of South Africa and The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, where he had the privilege of working alongside Ingrid Jensen, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Gerard Presencer, Maria Schneider and Kenny Wheeler.

Second Prize in the Maggini String Quartet Composers’ Competition and performances at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival were followed up by Third Place in The 2 Agosto Prize in Bologna, Italy. He returned to higher education in 2013, graduating with an MMus in composition from The University of Glasgow a year later.

Recent performances have included Crescent City Soliloquy, composed in 2010 for Duo X, and Tanabata, performed by The Red Note Ensemble at The Sound Festival in Aberdeen, 2015. His string octet, entitled Oirthir Gàidheal, derives from the Gaelic meaning ‘Coast of the Gaels.’ Another notable piece in his output, Cassiopeaia Dances, was written for the unorthodox combination of Oboe, French Horn and Harpsichord as part of the centenary commemorations of Debussy’s death in 2018, and was performed in Manchester and Glasgow. La Mort Parfumée, composed for flute quartet, was premiered in Kirkcaldy in April 2019. Trombone quartet Eástre: Hymn to the Sun received special mention in the 2020 BTS Composers’ Competition. 2021 saw the completion of Milton Inventions, written for and premiered by the the Japanese vibraphone virtuoso Mizuki Aita. Premiered by Orkney Camerata in May 2022 at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, February Moon was composed for the George Mackay Brown centenary celebrations. His most recent piece, Twilight’s Breath for wind ensemble received its premiere at the 2022 York Wind Chamber Music Course. In 2023 he embarked on a cycle of works for solo woodwind instruments based on the avian world; Trickster Raven for oboe; Strix for Bassoon; and Kōtuku for clarinet. the final piece in the series will be for flute, tentatively titled Suzaku.

Among his interests outside music he lists detective fiction, philately and Sudoku.