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Duncan MacLeod

Assistant Professor in Music Composition, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

Duncan's practice utilises both acoustic and digital forces. His output encompasses concert music, participatory arts and interdisciplinary practice that draws inspiration from a diverse range of sources encompassing art, folklore, philosophy, anthropology and acoustic ecology as well as social and political issues. His work has been professionally commissioned, commercially recorded and broadcast internationally by various ensembles and soloists. These include the Arditti Quartet, Jane Chapman, Juice vocal ensemble, Galvanize Ensemble, London Sinfonietta, Musarc, Ensemble Okeanos, Orkest de Volharding, Piano Circus, and Quatuor Diotima. His work has been performed at festivals such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Spitalfields Festival, Gaudeamus music week (NL), Sonorities, and at prominent venues namely The Muziekgebouw (NL), Walt Disney Centre (USA), Southbank Centre, and Kings Place. Upcoming commissions include music for Nicola Conibere's dance work Carareretetatakakekerers that will premiere at Sadler's Wells (Autumn 2021), a new electroacoustic work for contrabass clarinettist Sarah Watts (Summer 2022), and large-scale multichannel acousmatic work drawing upon the acoustic ecology of London's markets in response to Orlando Gibbon's The Cries of London (Summer 2023).

Duncan is an active performer (electronics) and founding member of the trio SoundKarD which specialise in the performance of contemporary electro-acoustic music. He is also an experienced music animateur, leading large-scale composition and community music projects for organisations such as the RNIB, English National Opera, London Sinfonietta, Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall.

Duncan studied composition with John Woolrich at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and at the Royal Conservatoire, The Netherlands, under the tutelage of Louis Andriessen, Clarence Barlow and Martijn Padding. He holds a PhD in composition from the University of Kent/Trinity Laban, where he studied with Michael Finnissy. He has also been awarded residencies at Acanthes, the Banff Centre, Handel House Museum, iPark artist enclave and IRCAM.

Expertise Summary

Composition (acoustic and electronic forces); Contemporary Music; Electroacoustic Music; Interdisciplinary Practice; Participatory Arts; Technology in Performance.

Teaching Summary

Applied Digital Musicianship; Electroacoustic Composition; Portfolio of Compositions; Skills in Composition; Specialist Studies 1; Specialist Studies 2.

Research Summary

Duncan's practice-led research explores Spatial Music, microtonality and manipulation of timbre utilising acoustic and electro-acoustic forces. This reflects a broader compositional interest in the… read more

Recent Publications

  • DUNCAN MACLEOD, 2020. The Cries of London. In: GEORGE KAFKA, ed., Sonic Urbanism: The Political Voice &beyond Collective & Theatrum Mundi. 28-37
  • DUNCAN MACLEOD, 2019. The Metalization of a Dream: for open ensemble and electronics
  • DUNCAN MACLEOD, 2018. Cut, Strike, Throw, Grip: for two harps and electronics
  • DUNCAN MACLEOD, 2017. The Cries of London: Columbia Road

Performances

  • The Metalization of a Dream - 8th March 2022, Galvanize Ensemble, Cafe OTO, London.
  • Carareretetatakakekerers - 14th & 15th October 2021, Normal Conditions / Nicola Conibere, Sadler's Wells, London.
  • The Metalization of a Dream - 29th January 2021, Galvanize Ensemble, Sound Festival, Aberdeen (online).
  • The Metalization of a Dream - 29th November 2020, Galvanize Ensemble, NottNOISE New Music Marathon (online).
  • The Metalization of a Dream - 18th December 2020, Galvanize Ensemble, Lit & Phil (online).
  • The Metalization of a Dream - 18th, December 2020, Galvanize Ensemble, nonclassical (online).
  • The Metalization of a Dream - 28th January 2020, Galvanize Ensemble and Fretwork, City University, London.
  • The Metalization of a Dream - 11th February 2019, Galvanize Ensemble and Fretwork, The Lit & Phil, Newcastle.

Current Research

Duncan's practice-led research explores Spatial Music, microtonality and manipulation of timbre utilising acoustic and electro-acoustic forces. This reflects a broader compositional interest in the exploration and creative manipulation of music perception and cognition. As such, his research interests encompass spectator immersion and the blurring of spatial boundaries between performance platform and audience as well as challenging the traditional distinctions of high/low culture. This is realised through reinterpreting traditional performance spaces alongside exploring unconventional public spaces, engaging new technologies, and interdisciplinary practice. Microtonality and timbre are explored by way of non-equal and hybrid temperaments as well as the application of real-time digital signal processing/live electronics as an extension of acoustic instrumental/vocal technique.

Past Research

Duncan's work has been professionally commissioned, commercially recorded and broadcast internationally by various ensembles and soloists. These include the Arditti Quartet, Jane Chapman, Juice vocal ensemble, London Sinfonietta, Musarc, Ensemble Okeanos, Orkest de Volharding, Piano Circus, and Quatuor Diotima. His work has been performed at festivals such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Spitalfields Festival, Gaudeamus music week (NL), Sonorities, and Bang on a Can Marathon (NY) and at prominent venues namely The Muziekgebouw (NL), Walt Disney Centre (USA), Southbank Centre, and Kings Place.

Future Research

Upcoming commissions include music for Nicola Conibere's dance work Carareretetatakakekerers that will premiere at Sadler's Wells (Autumn 2021), a new electroacoustic work for contrabass clarinettist Sarah Watts (Summer 2022), and large-scale multichannel acousmatic work drawing upon the acoustic ecology of London's markets in response to Orlando Gibbon's The Cries of London (Summer 2023).

  • DUNCAN MACLEOD, 2020. The Cries of London. In: GEORGE KAFKA, ed., Sonic Urbanism: The Political Voice &beyond Collective & Theatrum Mundi. 28-37
  • DUNCAN MACLEOD, 2019. The Metalization of a Dream: for open ensemble and electronics
  • DUNCAN MACLEOD, 2018. Cut, Strike, Throw, Grip: for two harps and electronics
  • DUNCAN MACLEOD, 2017. The Cries of London: Columbia Road
  • DUNCAN MACLEOD, 2015. From Surface to Surface: binaural acousmatic composition

Department of Music

The University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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