Born in Ayr, Rory Boyle was a chorister at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and studied composition with Frank Spedding at the RSAMD, as well as piano, organ, clarinet and conducting. A Caird Travelling Scholarship enabled him to continue his studies with Lennox Berkeley in London.


What drew you to a career in music?

In retrospect, I realise that music, and composing in particular, actually chose me, and by the time I was 17 I knew that was what I had to do. This was just as well, since there was precious little else that I would have been any good at.


How would you describe your work? 

I have absolutely no idea how to answer that. I simply write what I do and leave others to decide what it says. If people wish to categorize it as X, Y or Z,  that is their prerogative, but, being put in a box with a label on it simply doesn’t interest me.


What positive and negative aspects have you found lockdown has had on your work?

 I have always been grateful that composing takes me to a positive place where I can indulge myself and enjoy the ups and downs of writing. Lockdown has certainly focussed the mind and I have even revisited some early scores and found some material that was salvageable. No negatives.


Listen to an interview with Rory on the SMC’s Exposed Melodies podcast, recorded in 2011. 

Rory chose some music that is important to him and spoke about this on our Amplified podcast, recorded in 2020 during lockdown.


Listen to Rory’s prize-winning composition Muckle Flugga, performed by Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern at the European Brass Band Championships 2014.

Muckle Flugga was the winner of the Wind Band or Brass Band category of the 2015 British Composers Awards.

This piece was inspired by a small, rocky island north of Unst in the Shetland Iles – the name derived from the Norse meaning, ‘large steep-sided island’.




Watch clarinettist Fraser Langton speak about the recording of Burble – part of Rory’s album Music for Clarinet – commissioned by Fraser in 2011:




Watch the Rembrandt Trio perform Rory’s 3rd Piano Trio Three Faces in the Crowd, based on Rembrandt’s painting The Night Watch:



Watch Trio Dramatis perform Di tre re e io:


Delphian Records have released two recordings of Rory’s work, which you can find on their website.


Buy here


Many of Rory’s works, including Burble and Three Faces in the Crowd, are available to buy via the SMC shop

Buy here