Born in London, 1951, Cecilia McDowall has won many awards, been short-listed eight times for the British Composer Awards and in 2014 won the Choral category of the British Composer Awards for her haunting work, ‘Night Flight’. McDowall’s distinctive style speaks directly to listeners, instrumentalists and singers alike. Her most characteristic works fuse fluent melodic lines with occasional dissonant harmonies and rhythmic exuberance.
In 2013 Cecilia McDowall received an Honorary Doctorate from Portsmouth University and in 2017 she was selected for an Honorary Fellow award by the Royal School of Church Music. In 2019 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from West London University. In 2020 McDowall was presented with the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for ‘outstanding music collection’ for a ‘consistently excellent body of work’.
Her music has been commissioned and performed by leading choirs, including the BBC Singers, The Sixteen, Oxford and Cambridge choirs, Kansas City Chorale, ensembles, and at festivals worldwide, and her works are regularly broadcast on BBC Radio and available on CD – including the JCS’s 2007 recording on Dutton Epoch of her ‘Three Latin Motets’, ‘Annunciation, a carol for Advent’ and ‘Deus, qui claro lumine’.
The JCS will be reprising the latter work in our next concert, ‘Lux Beata’, on 4th November at St Gabriel’s Church, Pimlico, when we also welcome Olivia Tait as our latest Junior Fellow – Olivia will be conducting Cecilia’s composition – full concert and ticket details here.
[Photo credit – Karina Lyburn]