British Composers Project
  Andrew McBirnie nav bar composers tour - back next home back next composer index
Andrew McBirnie photo (6K)  

Andrew McBirnie is a British composer, music educator, examiner and consultant currently living in Oklahoma City, USA.

wma ico - play audio Sonatina for Brass, Ritornel
real ico - play audio Sonatina for Brass


Biographical Notes

Andrew was born in Portsmouth, and read music at the University of Bristol (BA with first class honours, 1992) followed by postgraduate study in composition at the Royal Academy of Music / University of London (MMus 1994, PhD 1997). Former composition teachers include David Penri-Evans, Adrian Beaumont, Michael Finnissy and, most importantly and influentially, Justin Connolly. He also studied at Tanglewood as a Fellow in Composition, with Henri Dutilleux and George Perle (1995); and at Dartington, with Peter Sculthorpe (1998). He was a composer finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1993.

Between 1997 and 2002 he taught music in independent schools, firstly in Northumberland and then in Reading, where he was Director of Music at The Oratory School from 1999 to 2002. From 2002 to 2008 he was Chief Examiner in Music for London College of Music Examinations at Thames Valley University, where he also taught on the BMus course.

In his rôle as Chief Examiner he was responsible for updating and expanding LCM's portfolio of graded and diploma examinations, and worked as part of a team which considerably developed the profile and standing of LCM Examinations worldwide, bringing about an increase of over 50% in examination entries. In 2008 Dr McBirnie moved to Oklahoma City, USA, where he continues to work as a Senior Examiner and consultant for LCM Examinations and also pursues a freelance career as a composer, consultant and teacher.

As a composer, Dr McBirnie has worked in the fields of opera, orchestral, instrumental, choral, vocal and educational music. His music has been performed widely in Britain and overseas by artists and ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, the BBC Singers, the BBC Philharmonic, the Bennelong Ensemble, Onyx Brass, and Avenue A.


His music has been broadcast several times on BBC radio and television, and three pieces, Sonatina for Brass (1995),Variation for Joanne Johnson (1997) and City (1999), have been recorded on CD. The Trio I (1988) for clarinet, cello and piano is published by Breitkopf & Härtel, and The Moon by Night (2001) for alto flute and piano is published by Tetractys Publications.

In March 2002, a concert featuring four of Dr McBirnie's chamber works was held at The Warehouse, London. The flautist Carla Rees has been active in promoting his work for quarter-tone alto flute and piano, The Moon by Night (2001), including performances by her group Rarescale in London, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and New York. Prayer (2004/5), for solo oboe, was premièred by Julian West at the Purcell Room, London, in April 2005, at a concert celebrating the chamber music of Henri Dutilleux and in the presence of Dutilleux, followed by a second performance in Cambridge.

Ritornel (2000; rev. 2001), for septet, was awarded 'Honourable Mention' in the 2005 Salvatore Martirano Award, and was performed by the University of Illinois New Music Ensemble at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in November 2005. The Sonatina for Brass (1995) was performed by the Faculty Brass Quintet of Laval University in Quebec City in November 2005, as part of the 2005 National Conference of the College Music Society. Three Motets on Scottish Metrical Psalms and Paraphrases (2006/7), for solo oboe, choir and orchestra, was premièred in Norwich in June 2007; and The Sun By Day (2007), for quarter-tone flute and piano, was premièred by Rarescale in London in September 2008. Intrada (2008/9) for concert band, was commissioned by the Goring and Streatley Concert Band and premièred by them in April 2009. Current projects include a song cycle for baritone and piano, and solo works for piano and organ.


Return to top of page

Return to British Composers main index or take a look at MUSICNOW main page to see what's new.

To contact Andrew please go to his personal web

valid-xhtml10.gif (2K)

Page maintained by Brigid Scott Baker, contact
Copyright©2000-2009 MUSICNOW. Created: 14/06/2000