"...when I listened to his music, I was struck by the welter of invention, and how his orchestral scores were teeming with ideas and colour...he's one of the most notable composers emerging at the moment".
- SIR JAMES MACMILLAN
"...[Jay's music] is strikingly elemental, in that his deft manipulation and development of musical material is a tough, rigorous and intelligent process...if his cosmic infatuation is anything to go by, it won't just be the world that is his oyster".
- KENNETH WALTON
"...a genuine sensation...a knock-'em-dead rocker with phenomenal propulsion...a total stunner...this boy will go far!"
- THE HERALD SCOTLAND
"He's original: new thinking, fresh expression and nothing second-hand; it's all his own...Heads up for a fresh voice".
- MICHAEL TUMELTY
"...superbly crafted work...a maturity that moulds components into cohesive, dramatic entities".
- THE SCOTSMAN
Scottish composer Jay Capperauld (born 1989) graduated Masters in Composition with Distinction from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2014 under the tutelage of Dr Gordon McPherson. Jay has since composed for various artists & organisations including; BBC Proms, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, Psappha Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, The Orchestra of Opera North, The Wallace Collection, Red Note Ensemble, Workers Union Ensemble, the Glasgow New Music Expedition, the Glasgow School of Art Choir, West of Scotland Schools Symphony Orchestra Trust, St Mary's Music School as well as composing solo works for Katherine Bryan of the RSNO, Alison Teale of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2012, Laura van der Heijden, and a Piano Concerto called ‘Endlings’ for the pianist James Willshire which premiered with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland Symphony Orchestra during their Spring Tour in 2018. ‘Endlings’ was also featured in BBC Scotland’s 2021 film ‘Changing Landscapes’ as part of the COP26 Climate Conference, performed by pianist Danny Driver and televised on BBC Scotland and BBC One. Jay has also worked closely with the rising star saxophonist, Lewis Banks, on a new cross-media collaboration called 'Afterlife' in which Jay composed an hour's worth of music for Alto Saxophone and Piano which was performed alongside a newly commissioned film by the Manchester-based filmmaker Paul Wright. Jay has had his works conducted under many prestigious batons including Martyn Brabbins, Thomas Dausgaard, Ilan Volkov, Alpesh Chauhan, Sir James MacMillan, Jessica Cottis, Geoffery Paterson, Garry Walker, Michael Repper and Pierre-André Valade. Jay’s music has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC iPlayer, Danish National Radio on DR P2 as well as BBC Radio Scotland as part of its Classics Unwrapped programme. Jay has self-published his work for solo, duo and choral settings which is available to purchase online via his website.
Jay enjoys working with young composers in their development and learning, and recently helped establish the West of Scotland Schools Orchestra Trust’s inaugural composition course in 2019 as well as acting as a mentor for young composers as part of the RSNO’s Notes from Scotland composition scheme. Jay also enjoys facilitating learning and engagement experiences for young and amateur musicians by creating accessible multi-ability new works for the likes of the RSNO Community Orchestra in his piece ‘Interlaced’ which premiered online in 2021 with conductor Michael Repper, as well as composing a celebratory fanfare called ‘Westering Echoes’ for all of the associate ensembles of the West of Scotland Schools Orchestra Trust commissioned for their 25th anniversary in 2021. Furthermore, Jay was commissioned by St Mary's Music School as part of their Seven Hills project in 2021 to composed a new chamber work titled "Theory of the Earth" for Percussion, Piano and String Quartet inspired by Alexander McCall Smith's poetry about Arthur's Seat, which premiered with the young musicians of St Mary's in their Summer Concert 2021.
A highlight of Jay’s career was being commissioned by the BBC to composed a new work for the BBC Proms 2020 in which his piece 'Circadian Refrains (172 Days Until Dawn)' was premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alpesh Chauhan, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 & BBC iPlayer. 'Circadian Refrains' was also selected by BBC Radio 3 to represent the UK as part of the 67th International Rostrum of Composers in 2021. A further highlight includes the world premiere of his Chamber Orchestra work “Death in a Nutshell” which was commissioned and performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in 2021 under the baton of Sir James MacMillan. Jay is also continuing a strong collaboration with flautist, Katherine Bryan, in the development of his new Flute Concerto 'Our Gilded Veins' which was commissioned by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and premiered in their 2021/22 season finale concert on the 3rd & 4th of June 2022 conducted by Thomas Søndergård.
Jay was appointed as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s Associate Composer in 2022, a role that sees Jay embedded in all aspects of the SCO’s activities over the next five years (2022-27) where he will compose new works for the Orchestra as well as work closely with the SCO’s Creative Learning and Marketing teams on various projects in the future. The SCO recently gave the world premiere of Jay’s Scottish-Reel inspired Chamber Orchestra piece ‘Whisky Mouth’ as part of their 10-date USA Tour with SCO principal conductor Maxim Emelyanychev in October of 2022. The SCO and Maxim also performed this work on their recent tour to the Canary Islands in February 2023.
The SCO is currently set to premiere 3 of Jay’s newly commissioned works as part of the SCO’s 50th Anniversary throughout their 2023/24 Season. The new season opens with the first of these commissions as part of the SCO’s Grand Tour of Scotland with Maxim Emelyanychev in which Jay’s new work for Chamber Orchestra ‘The Origin of Colour’ will premiere in 7 concert halls across the nation. In December 2023 Jay’s new choral piece ‘The Night Watch’ will premiere with the SCO Chorus, conducted by Gregory Batsleer, which is inspired by the words of Scottish poet Niall Campbell in his poem of the same name. February 2024 sees the premiere of Jay’s theatrical Chamber Orchestra work ‘The Great Grumpy Gaboon’ which is the first commission of its kind by SCO Creative Learning for the SCO Families Concerts in collaboration with Children’s Author Corrina Campbell, Director & CBeebies presenter Chris Jarvis and Movement Director Daniel Todd. The 2023/24 Season also sees the launch of SCO’s new artist development programme ‘Soundbox’ for music creators who will work closely with Jay in his role as lead mentor. Jay will continue his work as Composer-in-Residence in the Craigmillar Community as part of the SCO’s Seen & Heard workshops. Jay is also set to present a series of composition workshops/concerts for senior high-school music pupils with Musician & Artist Kirsty Matheson as part of SCO’s ‘Immerse’ programme which explores the connections between music, art, composition and creativity.
Most recently, Jay was commissioned by His Majesty King Charles III to compose a new work for the Honours of Scotland celebrations which took place on 5th July 2023 at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. The new piece 'Schiehallion!' for String Ensemble is written for The Honours of Scotland Ensemble and comprises three traditional Scottish tunes that were specially selected by King Charles III to reflect His Majesty's personal connection with Scotland. The Honours of Scotland Ceremony was broadcast on BBC One and BBC Radio 3 on Wednesday 5th July 2023.
Jay says of his work:
“As a composer I have an interest in creating emotive, meaningful and engaging narratives through music that combines intellectually rigorous processes with accessible presentation. I always seek out collaborative partnerships with performers/commissioners who share my core value in celebrating undiluted, unapologetic and challenging new music while curating performance contexts that facilitate a welcoming musical experience for audiences. My music is often driven by a concept and always aims to tell a story, even in an abstract way, which has led me to write about a wide range of topics such as séances, natural marvels, the afterlife, the last known individuals of certain species, broken objects, religious iconography, Scottish identity/tradition, mental health and dollhouses depicting true-crime scenes. This means that my musical output alters depending on the concept, which allows me a freedom in my writing to explore my creativity without the limits of style or expectation. As a common theme, my work is primarily influenced by the symbolic concept of the “Vanitas” (an image of a skull that can be found mostly in Renaissance art that acts as a reminder that death is an ever-present motive force), which informs my artistic output and way of life. The Vanitas also informs the concept of transience in my music which is reflected in a wide variety of musical contexts, so that the idea of Death becomes a gateway for the brevity of Life which, for me, highlights an existential desire to explore and cherish it through music”.