Gemma McGregor is a composer from Orkney who is interested in depicting consciousness and exploring images of time and place in layers of sound. In addition to writing contemporary choral and instrumental music, she has been part of many interdisciplinary performances and collaborations, created soundart and written for film.
Dr. Gemma McGregor Ph.D. Pg. Cert. BA (Hons)
Gemma McGregor is a composer from Orkney who has a doctorate in music composition from University of Aberdeen. A recipient of the Ogston Postgraduate Scholarship, she has had commissions performed at the St. Magnus Festival, St. Asaph Festival and Aberdeen Sound Festival. Watercolour Studios released an album of Gemma’s chamber music in 2011. Her choral music has been performed by the BBC Singers, Dunedin Consort and the Quodlibet Chorale. Gemma’s first opera, The Locked Door, was commissioned by the Sound Festival and performed in 2015. Many of Gemma’s compositions are influenced by Japanese music including the work for chamber orchestra, Greylighting, commissioned by Orkney Camerata, performed in 2015. Gemma’s music has a narrative style interrupted by flashback images and symbols from previous times allowing for constant change to exist alongside fragments of memory and a sense of returning. Several compositions are based on the landscape and history of Orkney alongside sounds borrowed from the world of Orcadian traditional music. Gemma is active as a performer of both contemporary music and Orkney music. She has been involved in multi-disciplinary collaborations including electronic music and sculpture installations at Grays School of Art and the Pier Arts Centre. Gemma is currently working on a commission for an opera about Saint Magnus for performance at the 2017 St Magnus Festival.
Gemma McGregor’s opera ‘The Story of Magnus Erlendsson’ will be premiered at Saint Magnus Cathedral at 7pm on Saturday 17th June during the St Magnus Festival.
2017 is the 900th anniversary of the death of St Magnus, murdered at the command of his cousin on the island of Egilsay. This specially commissioned dramatic work tells the story of Magnus, his early life, his religious commitment and the journey leading towards his murder and martyrdom. Local historian and storyteller Tom Muir narrates the tale with a large cast of singers, actors and musicians. This performance takes place in the monument, the Cathedral, created in St Magnus’s memory by his nephew Rognvald and showcases the work of two local collaborators, Gemma McGregor and Ron Ferguson.