Richard Ewan McGregor


Richard McGregor was born Glasgow and studied at the Universities of Glasgow and Liverpool where he completed a PhD study of the music of Thea Musgrave 1959-67 and he subsequently studied in Siena with Donatoni in the early 1980s. He worked as a teacher in Strathclyde, Essex and Bedfordshire, and from 1992-2006 was Head of Performing Arts at St Martin’s College (legacy institution of the University of Cumbria), and then Head of Educational Music. From 2010-13 he was the Director of Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Cumbria, and from 2006 Professor of Music there (now Emeritus).


Professional highlights

During the course of his career Richard was actively involved in the development of educational initiatives in both Music and the Performing Arts. He was a member of the group which created the ground-breaking first A level in Performing Arts and was a committee member for NAMHE (National Association for Music in Higher Education). From 2001-07 he was a member of the Music Benchmarking Group which created both the original statements and the revised benchmark statements for Music in Higher Education . He served as institutional representative to the TERN (Teacher Education Research Network) group and was a member of the research committee of UCET (Universities Council for the Education of Teachers).

Research interests

Richard is best known for his research and analytical work on the music of Peter Maxwell Davies, and has written a number of major articles on the composer’s works including on Davies’s use of plainsong and other source material; on the middle symphonies; on parody/pastiche in the composer’s music; on the decoding of Davies’s personal alphabet; on the music theatre work Mr Emmet Takes a Walk, and the ballet Salome. A jointly-authored major study of Davies’s music (with Dr Nicholas Jones) will be published in 2020. He was recently described as a ”˜trailblazer’ for his work on the work of James MacMillan which has included studies of Veni Veni Emmanuel and O Bone Jesu; an interview with MacMillan with critical commentary; and an article on MacMillan’s musical identity. In the European context he has written major studies of Wolfgang Rihm’s Chiffre cycle and Tutuguri as well as more generally on music and spirituality, agency, identity and inspiration.

His compositions, which are held at the Scottish Music Centre, include: Sarajevo 583 for string orchestra, 'I am the Rose of Sharon’ for solo, SSA and strings, '...Greeks bearing gifts’ for two pianos, Three Medieval Love Lyrics for women’s voices, Tableaux for two pianos, and Madrigales (words by Lorca).

Teaching commitments

Richard is a part-time lecturer in Practical Musicianship, Study Skills (research, academic writing and planning), Writing for the Arts and Keyboard Musicianship.


  • PGCert, Westminster College, Oxford

    1 Oct 1979 - 31 Jul 1980
  • University of Liverpool

    The Music of Thea Musgrave 1959-1967

    1 Oct 1976 - 14 Jul 1980
  • BMus, University of Glasgow

    1 Oct 1971 - 1 Jul 1975