Born and educated in Edinburgh, Kenneth Dempster began his advanced musical training at Edinburgh Napier University (1980 – 1982: L.G.S.M. & A.L.C.M. Diplomas in Piano), before going on to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London (1982 – 1986: G.R.S.M. (Hons.) & Advanced Certificate in Composition). At the RAM he was awarded eight prizes for his compositions as well as the Inter-Collegiate, Theodore Holland Award (1986).