Hamish MacCunn


Hamish MacCunn

Hamish MacCunn (1868-1916) was a Scottish Romantic composer best known for The Land of the Mountain and the Flood.

Life and Music

  • Hamish MacCunn was born in Greenock, the son of a shipowner, and was educated at the Royal College of Music, where his teachers included Sir Hubert Parry and Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.
  • MacCunn's first success was with the overture The Land of the Mountain and the Flood in 1887 at the Crystal Palace, and this was followed by other compositions with a characteristic Scottish colouring.
  • From 1888 to 1894 he was a professor at the Royal College of Music.
  • In 1888, he married Alison Pettie, daughter of John Pettie, RA, who had painted MacCunn's portrait several times. They had one son. John Pettie was an enthusiastic musician, who helped MacCunn build up his career by organising concerts of his work.
  • The production of his opera Jeanie Deans at Edinburgh, soon followed. He was for some years conductor to the Carl Rosa Opera Company, and subsequently to other companies. His opera Diarmid was produced at Covent Garden in 1897.
  • His other music includes cantatas, overtures, part-songs, instrumental pieces and songs, all markedly Scottish in type.
  • A hectic programme of composing, conducting and teaching brought about a gradual deterioration in MacCunn's health, and he died aged only 48.
Did you know?

Hamish MacCunn had a genuine love of Scottish folksong, and although he lived in London he was a lifelong champion of Scottish music and of the country’s musical life.


Top Maccunn Pieces