Marc and the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

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254416_10150216899731190_3769043_nMarc met Max at the Hoy Summer School in 1994 when he was selected as one of ten composers to attend the course. Before this, Marc had no contact with other composers. The course proved to be a revelation and the start of Marc’s career as a composer. After the course Max told Marc that he wanted to support and promote his work. Subsequently Max organised Marc’s first commission with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for the St. Magnus Festival in 1997 which Max conducted. Max went on to conduct a number of Marc’s other orchestral works including PAGAN II and I See Blue with the BBC Philharmonic and Gerwaundhaus Radio Orchestra in Leipzig, Germany. Marc became close friends with Max across the years and spent many weeks with him on Hoy and latterly Sandy on the Orkney Isles.

A number of commentators have defined Marc’s relationship to Max as that of a protege. Although Max never engaged in any form of formal teaching with Marc or inclined him to take up any of his compositional methods or aesthetics, Max was and continues to be a huge supporter of Marc’s work. They continue to share developments and ideas in their compositional practice with Max taking a great interest in Marc’s work with mobile technologies and asynchronous structural approaches in composition and visual art work. Max always remarked he was intrigued by two particular aspects of Marc’s development; how he had learned so much and could compose as he did without any formal training or support in composition or instrumental tuition, and that Marc was an accomplished painter, again without any training.


“Mr. Yeats has a surprising and I think unique artistic vision. When I first encountered his work I was very aware of a lack of professional training in musical composition and realised, next, that here were developments in the architecture and soundscape of his musical world which were quite unlike anything previously encountered. I presumed this was a direct result of his being forced by an extraordinary creative imagination and energy to find ways of circumnavigating these lacunae in practical musical experience . . . . . . by studying and learning very fast, to a degree of hot intensity I never encountered.” Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

Max's comment upon receiving North Sound, an orchestral piece Marc dedicated to Max in 2005 for his 70th birthday.

Max’s comment upon receiving North Sound, an orchestral piece Marc dedicated to Max in 2005 for his 70th birthday.

“Marc Yeats’ musical voice is quite unlike anything else; the music is challenging to both performers and audiences, and very communicative. He produces extraordinary compositions that not only look and sound good, but demonstrate a very high level of academic learning, while being breathtakingly original.” Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

In 2004 Max dedicated his Scottish Chamber Orchestra string orchestra commission, ‘Fall of the Leafe’ “to the Skye composer and painter Marc Yeats”

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