Kenneth Dempster

Kenneth began his advanced musical training at Edinburgh Napier University then attended the Royal Academy of Music, London. There he was awarded many prizes for his compositions including the Inter-Collegiate, Theodore Holland Award. He was also the recipient of a number of scholarships for Masters study at Yale University in the U.S. where he worked with many eminent composers including Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, Louis Andriessen, Earle Brown and Frederic Rzewski.

He studied further in the U.K. with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and James MacMillan and quickly began to receive commissions from a wide variety of ensembles and organisations including the Emperor Quartet, Hilliard Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, English National Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Edinburgh Quartet, Scottish Flute Trio, ECAT, Mr. McFall’s Chamber, Scottish Chamber Choir and the St. Magnus Festival. Further recognition included receiving the Cornelius Cardew Composition Prize and a Creative Scotland Award.

Seven Fans for Alma Mahler, commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (conductor Thierry Fischer), was widely acclaimed by reviewers and audiences alike, as was his opera, Peer Gynt, commissioned by the St. Magnus Festival to mark the 70th birthday of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Kenneth leads many schools’ workshops and has undertaken three major education projects with the Edinburgh Quartet in recent years. The largest of these projects, The Cold Dancer involved visiting 35 primary schools across all areas of Scotland. Most recently he has been working alongside the Scottish Flute Trio in schools in Fife region as part of the soundstreams project. This project included the commission of a new sextet, source for three flutes, clarinet, marimba and cello performed throughout Scotland in June 2010.

Kenneth is currently Composer in Residence at Edinburgh Napier University.