Shona Mackay



Shona Mackay is a composer and mixed-media artist based in Glasgow, currently working on a practice-based PhD at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the supervision of Gordon McPherson.

Her work often explores themes of gender, identity, narrative and interconnectivity. She is interested in pushing the boundaries of what it means to be "the composer", utilising a variety of media including music, spoken word, film, photography and elements of theatre. 

Professional highlights

As a composer my work has been performed by various groups including Hebrides Ensemble, Red Note Ensemble, Music Lab, Ensemble Thing, The Astrid Quartet, Duo9 and the Brodick Quartet. I was recently chosen to take part in Psappha Ensemble's "Composing for Cello" scheme and have alsobeen involved with the Edinburgh International Film Festival Composers' Lab, the St Magnus Composers' Course in Orkney and the On the Rocks Arts Festival in St Andrews.

In 2016/2017 I worked with the Glasgow School of Art Choir as part of Making Music's Adopt a Composer scheme, in partnership with Sound and Music, BBC Radio 3 and PRS for Music Foundation. This exciting collaboration resulted in a new choral work, "Continuum", written specially for the choir. It was performed on 27 May 2017 at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow and a short feature including excerpts and interviews was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in early 2018. 

Research interests

My research involves questioning and pushing the boundaries of the composer's role, exploring new ways to view and approach composition as a complete process and practice. Included in this is the importance of narrative and artistic presence, in both live and mediated formats. 

I am also interested in finding ways to connect, communicate and interact with my audiences and performers; striving to create more individual, personal experiences and to break down the barriers between composer, performer and listener. Gender, identity, aesthetics, perspective and narrative are all influencing factors in my work.