Alastair Stout (b. 1975) - Full biography
Born in 1975 and living on the Sheltand Isles off the North coast of Scotland, Alastair began playing the organ at the age of 10 and composing at the age of 12. His first work (for organ) was published in 1990 and was first performed by the composer in Ely Cathedral. Since 1990, Alastair has had over 20 organ works published and performed in cathedrals throughout the UK; most notably Symphony in 3 Movements (1997) in St Paul's Cathedral; Elegy (1998) in Westminster Abbey; and Pentecostal Suite (1995) in Westminster Cathedral.
Alastair held the Loretto School Organ Scholarship from 1991-1993 in Edinburgh. He then studied composition and organ with Joseph Horovitz and John Birch at the Royal College of Music (1993-97) followed by a Masters degree in composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the guidance of Robert Saxton (1997-98). He has recently completed a PhD in Composition at Royal Holloway, University of London (1998 - 2001), supervised by Simon Holt. Alastair has participated in various summer schools including the final Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Summer School on Hoy (1996), the Dartington International Summer School with Judith Weir (1999) and an ECAT workshop with James MacMillan (1996).
His portfolio comprises a range of works from solo to orchestral, including vocal, ensemble and theatrical as well as collaborating with choreographers at the London Contemporary Dance School and writing for the internet: http://www.longtales.com . They have been performed in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Sir Henry Wood Hall, Purcell Room, Reid Concert Hall, and Wigmore Hall by performers including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Brunel and Composer's Ensembles, Ixion, Gilde and Belmonte Quartets, Scottish Chamber Ensemble, Chroma, Rolf Hind, and Sarah Walker. His work has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Radio Shetland.
His works have featured in the 1998 Spitalfields Festival, 1998 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, 1998 Norfolk and Norwich Festival, 2000 Hoxton New Music Days, the Wesley Chapel Millennium Arts Festival and the 1999 Fregynog Festival where he was awarded the Composer of Wales Award for his first String Quartet . The music is strongly influenced by Shetland traditions and other composers who use folk music such as Ligeti and Bartok.
As an organist, performances incorporate 20th-century repertoire and venues include St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Ely Cathedral and many other churches throughout Britain. Organ works have been written for him by composers such as Arthur Willis, Stephen Willcocks (USA) and Gordon Lawson. In 2002 he became Organist and Director of Music of the Coraopolis United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
...progressing upwards to an almost unbearable intensity before plunging to the depths of bassoon and bass clarinet sound, leaving the difference tones ringing around our heads, ending with a growling crescendo breaking up in a series of menacing snorts.