James Douglas (composer)

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James Douglas

James Douglas (born 1932) is a Composer, (internationally-known and globally performed), Accompanist, Conductor, Recording artist and Organist.

Douglas was born in Dumbarton. He was based in Edinburgh. He moved to live in North West Scotland in 2006. Douglas has composed a wide variety of music: instrumental, choral, organ, flute, orchestral, wind, brass and violin.


Solo Piano and Organ recitalist; Accompanist for Vocal Masterclasses throughout Europe; Deputy Organist, St. Thomas' Church, Edinburgh, 1948–50; Director of Music, Nicolson Square Church, Edinburgh, 1953–63; Mayfield Church, Edinburgh, 1963–69; Reid Memorial Church, Edinburgh, 1969–73; Music Staff, The Edinburgh Academy, 1967–1979; Director of Music, Christ Church, Edinburgh, 1986–91; Director of Ensemble, 'The Glorious Company', 2004- Records exclusively for Caritas Records (distribution global). All rights to his music are held by Eschenbach Editions and Cartas Music Publishing.


Composer James Douglas' education, includes: Edinburgh, Paris, Munich, Salzburg and London (LRAM and ARCM). Debut: Wienersaal (Mozarteum), Salzburg, 1951. He is especially grateful for the teaching of Professor Hermann Reutter (Munich / Salzburg) and Professor Henri Lauth (Paris).


Compositions include: 15 symphonies (Sky Canticles, Musica della Passione, Symphony with Organ, From the Deeps, Majestas Divini, Musica dalla Serenissima, Rituals in Transformed Time, Meditation on the Divine, Fire and Love, A Time for Singing, Torridon, Canti Spirituali, Le Mystere de Noel, La Corona, Metamorphosis), String Quartet 1, String Quartet II, orchestral works, 32 flute / flute and piano works; works for Violin / Violin & Piano; (including such virtuoso Solos as 'To Foinaven,' 'The Sun Dancing,'I see the 21st Century approaching' and over 15 other works for Violin & Piano), cello music, music for brass ('Formations for 11 Brass' & 'Brass Quintet'), music for Woodwind (Emblems for 8 woodwind & 3 brass), Instrumental works include: The Christ Church Sequence (75 chamber works 2001-06), The Glorious Sequence (2006-), The Highlands and Islands Sequence (56 works 1968-2007), Music for the 21st Century 1-5 (2008), Lindisfarne Music (words by David Adam), A Tide That Sings (words by G R D Maclean), piano music, 36 major works for organ (including Advent Meditations, From the Deeps, Symphony for Organ: Clouds of Mystery, Praise Sion; Switzerland, Concerto for Organ, Trilogia, A Vision, Nativity Recessional, Le Soleil dansant, High Mountains I, Glory to Glory, To the Cairngorms and Inverness Cathedral); stage works: Mask (7 Deadly Sins, premiered Stirling Festival 1973 and Edinburgh Int Festival 1974). Full Biographical details can be found in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Douglas_(composer) ; International Who's Who in Classical Music (published by Routledge); The Oxford Dictionary of Music; British and International Music Yearbook and Debrett's People of Today (2017). Please consult up to date directories for full details of Compositions (old information is out of date). .


Notable performances of the music of James Douglas have taken place all over the world, including: Edinburgh: The Usher Hall, St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, and St Giles' Cathedral; London, UK: All of the major cathedrals in London including Westminster Abbey; Paris: Notre Dame de Paris, L'Eglise St. Roch, Paris, and in New York, USA: St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York City. As a Pianist James Douglas performs on all of his Recordings and has performed both the Piano and Organ in numerous Live performances, giving the World Premiere of many of his compositions. Over 100 concerts of the music of James Douglas took place at Christ Church, Edinburgh during the period 1986-2006. Mysterion by James Douglas (for 22 Brass in 5 choirs) was performed for the 150th Anniversary Concert of Edinburgh Academy, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, conductor Kevin Anderson. Organist Michael Bonaventure has given the first performances of some of James Douglas' organ music and Flautist George Gwilt has been responsible for all of the World Premieres of Douglas' flute compositions.


James Douglas' music has been broadcast on National TV, BBC Radio 3, Radio 2, Radio Scotland, BBC Alba, The Open University and on Local, National and International radio and TV stations throughout the world (including: Michael Palin: Sahara, The Queen: Britain's longest serving monarch and Heartbeat amongst others). A DVD has now been produced called 'A Musical Journey' featuring nearly 200 photos by Helen Douglas with a soundtrack by James Douglas called 'The Ullapool Experience.' Caritas Media Music has now established a YouTube Channel to showcase the music of James Douglas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9bztdumQF4&feature=share features the first in a series of films, this includes excerpts from the DVD by James and Helen Douglas 'A Visual and Musical Journey.'

Personal Highlights[edit]

As Performer / Conductor (all choral works were performed with Orchestral accompaniment): J S Bach: Christmas Oratorio (Conductor); Ascension Oratorio; Cantata: Wachet Auf; Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 (directed from Harpsichord); Das Wohltemperierte Klavier I & II; Goldberg Variations (Harpsichord); Complete Organ Works Britten: Conductor: St. Nicholas (Conductor); Noye’s Fludde; 3 Canticles G F Handel: Conductor: Messiah Part 1; Wasser Musik Suite 1; Klaviersuiten Alles (Harpsichord) Schutz: Christmas Story (Conductor and Harpsichord); Seven Last Words James Douglas: Music for the Trinity (Conductor, St. Giles Cathedral 1964); "The Christ Church Sequence" by James Douglas was written during the period 2001-2006. This Sequence consisted of 75 Chamber works and such an event was described by Musical America as being 'History in the making (2003).' Melodies: Duparc, Debussy & Ravel (Paris 1950 Henri Lauth) Lieder: Schubert (all song cycles) & Piano Sonatas. Organ Repertoire: Bach, Buxtehude, Sweelinck, Mozart, Liszt, Brahms, Karg-Elert, Schoenberg, Messiaen (early works) & Douglas. Travels in Music: Bruges, Brussels, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Venice, Vienna, London, Munich & Paris.

Important Performances of James Douglas' Music: A Vision by James Douglas: Midnight Mass (Christmas Eve) Notre Dame de Paris (Michael Bonaventure); Lauda Sion by James Douglas: Sion, Switzerland (Andrew Armstrong); A Vision by James Douglas (St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh; Eglise St. Roch, Paris; Westminster Abbey, London and St. Thomas' Church, 5th Avenue, NY, USA); De Profundis by James Douglas (BBC Radio 3, Michael Bonaventure).


"Visions of Glory" (Cassette and Compact Disc) by James Douglas and David Adam, 12 Prayers in the Celtic Tradition, (Cassette: Catalogue Number: ABZ 103C (1989), CD: Catalogue Number: ABZ 121CD (2001), Caritas Records)

"Cry of the Deer" (Cassette and Compact Disc), featuring meditations led by David Adam, (Cassette: Catalogue Number: CCBZ 230C (1990), CD: Catalogue Number: CCBZ 271CD (2001), Caritas Records)

"A Vision" by James Douglas (Compact Disc) (Catalogue Number: ABZ 110 CD (2000), Caritas Records).

"Cloud of Unknowing" by James Douglas(Compact Disc) (Catalogue Number: ABZ 130 CD (2001), Caritas Records

"Caritas Live Series," No. 1-7 by James Douglas(7 separate Compact Discs: 'Vigil of the Ascension,' 'Into the Forest,' 'Music for the Fallen,' 'Doors of Perception,' 'Cranes Dancing,' 'Threnody for Lost Time' and 'The Feast of his Joy.' (2001-2002)) (Catalogue Numbers: ABZ 141CD-ABZ 147CD, Caritas Records).

"Summertime Song," Caritas Live No. 8 by James Douglas(Compact Disc) (Catalogue Number: ABZ 148CD (2004), Caritas Records).

"The City Never Sleeps," Caritas Live No. 9 by James Douglas(Compact Disc)(Catalogue Number: ABZ 150CD (2005), Caritas Records).

"Nocturnal," Caritas Live No. 10 by James Douglas(Compact Disc), (Catalogue Number: ABZ 149CD (2006), Caritas Records

"Peace of the Highlands" Caritas Live No. 11 by James Douglas (Compact Disc) (Catalogue Number: ABZ151CD (2009), Caritas Records). This CD features music exclusively taken from The Highlands and Islands Sequence by James Douglas, recorded in Ullapool in 2006-7) (Catalogue Number: ABZ151CD, Caritas Live). Includes performances by Soloists: Pam Brown, Alistair Neally, George Gwilt, James Douglas and Katharine Douglas.

"Land of the Lochans" Caritas Live No. 12 by James Douglas (Compact Disc) (Catalogue Number: ABZ152CD, Caritas Records). This CD was released in November 2011 and is a digitally recorded Album of Flute and Piano, performed by James Douglas and Flautist George Gwilt. This 12th CD features Live digital performances by George Gwilt (Flute) and James Douglas (Piano / Keyboard) all recorded Live at The Macphail Theatre, Ullapool (recordings by Steve Douglas and Kenny Ross). This CD includes 9 beautiful tracks, which show off the versatility of the Flute and were all inspired by various journeys undertaken in Scotland and Europe by the Composer. If you are looking for music which is positive, full of hope, strong in melody; then why not try the music of James Douglas in 'The Highlands and Islands Sequence,' 'The Christ Church Sequence' or in 'The Glorious Sequence.' You can travel the world with the music of James Douglas why not try the music and listen to it?

Current projects[edit]

Include: 'A Musical Journey (a DVD with Helen Douglas, released in 2011) and other multimedia projects (2012-)


  • Eschenbach Editions all rights reserved, licensing via PRS for Music and all affiliated collecting societies worldwide
  • Caritas Music Publishing all rights reserved, licensing via PRS for Music and all affiliated collecting societies worldwide

(for any other information, please contact us)

Record Company[edit]

  • Caritas Records owns all recording rights throughout the world, licensing via MCPS and PPL Ltd.

Selected works[edit]

  • Visions of Glory (S.A.T.B.)
  • Ave Verum Corpus (S.A.T.B.)
  • The Sun Dancing for solo flute
  • Threnody for Lost Time for Piano, Cello, Flute & Trumpet
  • To Foinaven for solo Violin
  • A Prayer of St. Francis (S.A.T.B.)
  • Hebridean Dream Music for Solo Flute
  • Symphony for Organ (Clouds of Mystery)
  • Nativity Recessional for Organ
  • High Mountains for Organ
  • Praise Sion, Switzerland for Organ
  • To the Cairngorms for Organ
  • From the Deeps for Organ
  • Trilogia for Organ
  • Brass Quintet

Buy CDs online: http://www.caritas-music.co.uk/order_system/cd_results.html A selection of Sheet Music by James Douglas has been printed by Eschenbach Editions and can be purchased here: Buy Sheet Music online: http://www.caritas-music.co.uk/order_system/sheet_music_results.html

Alternatively for selected works, a Performers score may be available for professional performances only. Please contact The Promotions Department: eschenbach@caritas-music.co.uk in the first instance.

External links[edit]