A memorial concert celebrating the life and work of John Maxwell Geddes has been confirmed for Sunday April 29th at St John’s Renfield Church in the West End of Glasgow.

And the legacy of Geddes – who for decades was one of Scotland’s most prolific composers – will be carried forward in the form of an award for aspiring classical composers in Scotland.

Upon John Maxwell Geddes’ death in September last year, a lifelong colleague and friend, Hal Peterson, gave a financial donation in John’s name to the Scottish Music Centre (SMC).

Now the Geddes’ family and the SMC have used this money to form the Geddes Peterson Foundation – and have today announced that the first Geddes Peterson Foundation award winner is classical accordionist and composer Aileen Sweeney.

Aileen, a 23-year-old graduate of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), has written a piece that will be played at the concert along with a wide range of Geddes’s own works.

Around 40 professional musicians, including members of the Geddes family and many friends and colleagues, have volunteered their time and expertise to bring together this exciting concert. It is a heartfelt tribute to the dynamic and magical influence that John Maxwell Geddes had on so many in world of the classical music, as a teacher, musician, mentor and as a composer.

 

Composer and composition tutor at RCS Oliver Searle, who was taught by Geddes and helped advise the Geddes family on the award winner, said:

“John made a vast contribution to the musical scene in Scotland over the course of his life, as well as being a wonderful ambassador for the country in his travels elsewhere.

“He left a lasting impression upon musicians of all ages and stages and it is only fitting that this fantastic award should celebrate his life as a composer and educator to so many around Scotland, as well as offering the chance for John’s legacy to continue into the future, through the support of less-established composers.”

Aileen Sweeney

Award winner Aileen Sweeney, who is from Glasgow, said:

“I was shocked to win the Geddes Peterson Foundation Award. I am so grateful to have the opportunity for one of my pieces to be performed in such a special concert alongside music by such an outstanding composer.

“Supporting new classical music is essential so that performers and ensembles begin to programme new music more regularly. New music must be supported so that it stands a chance to be heard live in front of audiences.”

Gill Maxwell, Executive Director of Scottish Music Centre, said:

“Scottish Music Centre is delighted to host the Geddes Peterson Foundation, in fond memory of John – a fantastically creative composer and much loved and respected teacher. We look forward to working alongside the Geddes family and Oliver Searle on future Geddes Peterson Foundation awards.”