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James Douglas

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Composer James Douglas, photo Copyright 2008James Douglas: Composer, Pianist, Recording Artist, Accompanist, Conductor and Organist.

All Photos © Copyright 2019, Katharine H. Douglas (unless otherwise stated)

Born 1932 in Dumbarton, Scotland, most of his life was based in Edinburgh, Scotland but he now lives in NW Scotland.

Biography: (Summary):

Compositions by James Douglas 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), Traurigkeit for String Orchestra; String Quartet 1; String Quartet II, orchestral works, cello music, 32 flute / flute & 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), music for woodwind (Emblems for 8 woodwind and 3 brass), music for brass (Formations for 11 Brass & Brass Quintet), 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 organ recital works (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, Inverness Cathedral and Le Christ est Ressucite); works for Organ / Piano, stage works: Mask: 7 Deadly Sins, premiered Stirling Festival 1973 and Edinburgh Int Festival 1974 (Libretto: Robert Nye / Masks: Aileen Campbell Nye). Full Biographical details can be found in International Who's Who in Classical Music (published by Routledge 2019); The Oxford Dictionary of Music; British and International Music Yearbook; Debrett's People of Today (final edition 2017) and Wikipedia:

Please consult up to date directories for full details of Compositions (old information is out of date).

Detailed Biography please read on........

b. Dumbarton, Scotland. Studied: Heriot Watt College, Edinburgh; Conservatoire, Paris; Hochschule, Munich; & Mozarteum, Salzburg. Composer, Organist, Accompanist & Recording Artist. International debut @ Wienersaal, Mozarteum, Salzburg, 1951. Director of Music: Nicolson Square Church, Edinburgh 1953-63; Mayfield Church, Edinburgh 1963-69; Reid Memorial Church, Edinburgh 1969-73, Music Staff: Edinburgh Academy 1967-79, Director of MusicL Christ Church, Edinbrugh 1986-91. Founder: Eschenbach Editions 1986-, Founder: Caritas Records: 1986-; Director of: The Glorious Company 2004-, Member: Performing Right Society Ltd. Hon Prof Academie des Sciences Universelles, Paris 1992.


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; 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 perfomed 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 much 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, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Alba, The Open University and on Local, National and International radio and TV stations throughout the world. Notable inclusions of his music have been in TV series such as Michael Palin: 'Sahara' and 'The Queen: Britain's longest reigning Monarch,' and 'Heartbeat' with transmissions and retransmissions worldwide. James Douglas' Music now features on the Caritas Media Music Channel on YouTube. The first film includes music from the DVD 'A Visual and Musical Journey' by James and Helen Douglas:

Recordings / Printed Music:

The most recent CD By James Douglas: 'Land of the Lochans', along with 15 other Compact Discs by the Composer, have been commercially released by Caritas Records and can all be purchased from the Caritas Music Store here, with no charge for postage on all orders over £10 worldwide.

A selection of Sheet Music by James Douglas has been printed by Eschenbach Editions and can be purchased here Alternatively for selected works, a Performers score may be available for professional performances only. Please contact The Promotions Department: in the first instance.

A DVD is also available entitled 'A Musical Journey' featuring nearly 200 photos by Helen Douglas with a soundtrack by James Douglas called 'The Ullapool Experience.' Purchase this DVD here for only £13.99 (Europe format only, no charge for postage).


"Visions of Glory" (Cassette and Compact Disc) with music by James Douglas and words by David Adam, Words taken from his best selling book: 'The Edge of Glory,' (SPCK / Triangle Books), (Cassette: Catalogue Number: ABZ 103C, CD: Catalogue Number: ABZ 121CD, Label: Caritas) 3 tracks now available on YouTube: 3 tracks now available on YouTube:


"Cry of the Deer" (Cassette and Compact Disc) David Adams’ words take you to the heart of the Hymn of St. Patrick, giving us hope for the future in these times of trouble. (Cassette: Catalogue Number: CCBZ 230C, CD: Catalogue Number: CCBZ 271CD, Label: Caritas Classics) 

'A Vision" (Compact Disc), is a the very first collection on CD of the music of James Douglas, released in February 2000. It contains one of Douglas’ most famous organ pieces, ‘A Vision,’ which has been performed in Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral) and in many other countries. The CD also features music for solo flute, organ, cello, choir and solo soprano (Catalogue Number: ABZ 110 CD, Label: Caritas). This CD was recorded in St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh; Rosslyn Chapel and Christ Church, Edinburgh.

''Cloud of Unknowing'' (Compact Disc) by James Douglas, was released in February 2001, with haunting and atmospheric music for Piano, Flute, Organ & Narrator. This recording also includes the 2nd movement from Symphony for Organ: Clouds of Mystery by James Douglas, performed by Michael Bonaventure and recorded in St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh. (Catalogue Number: ABZ 130 CD, Label: Caritas).

"Vigil of the Ascension (Caritas Live No. 1)" by James Douglas, features Live recordings of: Journey around Beinn Fada for Cello & Piano and Vigil of the Ascension for Organ. (CD, Catalogue Number: ABZ 141CD, Label: Caritas Live).

"Into the Forest" (Caritas Live No. 2) by James Douglas, features Live recordings of: Double Prelude No. 1 (Into the Forest) for Organ and Piano, Prelude for Susannah for Flute & Piano and Waltz for Madeleine for Flute & Piano. (CD, Catalogue Number: ABZ 142CD, Label: Caritas Live).

"Music for the Fallen" (Caritas Live No. 3) by James Douglas, features Live recordings of: Kaddish and Compline both for solo cello, and Music for the Fallen for Organ & Piano. (CD, Catalogue Number: ABZ 143CD, Label: Caritas Live).

"Doors of Perception" (Caritas Live No. 4) by James Douglas, features Live recordings of: Doors of Perception for Trumpet & Piano and also Landscapes of Light and 3 Pavanes from High Places for Solo Piano performed by James Douglas himself. (CD, Catalogue Number: ABZ 144CD, Label: Caritas Live).

"Cranes Dancing" (Caritas Live No. 5) by James Douglas, features Live recordings of: Double Prelude No. 5 (Rannoch) for Organ & Piano, Autumn Serenade for Trumpet & Piano and Double Prelude No. 3 (Cranes Dancing) for Flute & Piano. (CD, Catalogue Number: ABZ 145CD, Label: Caritas Live).

"Threnody for Lost Time" (Caritas Live No. 6) by James Douglas, features 5 Live performances, including 'Threnody for Lost Time' a memorial to the 9/11 Tragedy. (CD, Catalogue Number: ABZ 146CD, Label: Caritas Live).

"The Feast of his Joy" (Caritas Live No. 7) by James Douglas, features 5 Live performances including Music for Organ, Piano, Flute, Cello & Alto Flute. (CD, Catalogue Number: ABZ 147CD, Label: Caritas Live).

"Summertime Song," Caritas Live No. 8 (Compact Disc) by James Douglas, features 8 new works mainly for Flute & Piano, recorded live at Christ Church, Edinburgh, released in February 2004. (Catalogue Number: ABZ 148CD, Label: Caritas Live).

"The City Never Sleeps," Caritas Live No. 9 (Compact Disc) by James Douglas, features 12 tracks for Flute, Trumpet, Soprano & Piano, recorded live at Christ Church, Edinburgh, released February 25th 2005. (Catalogue Number: ABZ 150CD, Label: Caritas Live).

"Nocturnal," Caritas Live No. 10 (Compact Disc), The 10th CD in the Caritas Live series, by James Douglas, includes 12 Live tracks, recorded in Christ Church, Edinburgh, released 3rd February 2006 (Catalogue Number: ABZ 149CD, Caritas Live).

"Peace of the Highlands" Caritas Live No. 11 (Compact Disc). This CD features music exclusively taken from The Highlands and Islands Sequence by James Douglas (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 (CD, Catalogue Number ABZ152CD, Caritas Live). 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.

Selected notable works:


Solo Piano and Organ recitalist; Accompanist for vocal Masterclasses throughout Europe; Deputy Organist; St. Thomas' Church, Edinburgh 1948-50; wrote music for reviews; Director of Music: Nicolson Square Church, Edinburgh 1953-63; Concerts in the Epworth Hall, including music by Chopin and Schubert; 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 (global distribution).

Personal Highlights of a Performer's Career

As Performer / Conductor (all choral works were performed with Orchestral accompaniment):

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

Conductor: St. Nicholas (Conductor); Noye’s Fludde; 3 Canticles

Conductor: Messiah Part 1; Wasser Musik Suite 1; Klaviersuiten Alles (Harpsichord)

Christmas Story (Conductor and Harpsichord); Seven Last Words

Music for the Trinity (Conductor, St. Giles Cathedral 1964)

Mask: Seven Deadly Sins (Stirling Festival 1973, Edinburgh International Festival 1974), Music: James Douglas, Libretto: Robert Nye, Masks: Aileen Campbell Nye. Soloists: Peter Morrison (baritone), Clifford Hughes (Tenor), Joan Busby (Mezzo), Death: Finlay Welsh, 7 Maskers and Instrumental Ensemble: "The Janglers."

"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)

Schubert: Lieder (Song cycles) and 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, Munich, Paris and London


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).


'My Music for me expresses what I can't express in words, only in sounds. My sounds.'

(James Douglas, Composer 2011)

"History in the making" (Musical America 2003)


James Douglas is represented by his Music Publishers: Eschenbach Editions All performances of Music by James Douglas must be licensed through PRS Ltd and all Recordings should be licensed through MCPS Ltd.


Eschenbach Editions (Publishers)

Achmore, Moss Road
Ullapool, IV26 2TF


Tel: +44 (0) 1854 612 236