Top UWS honour for renowned Paisley classical musician
Celebrated Paisley-born classical percussionist Alasdair Malloy received an Honorary Doctorate from University of the West of Scotland (UWS) at its graduation ceremony on 12 July 2017 at Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church, Paisley.
Alasdair, one of the most distinguished musicians in the UK, has earned national and international recognition for activities associated with culture and youth education and it is therefore fitting that he received this award from UWS.
After training at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), Alasdair joined the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the young age of 20. He was then appointed principal percussionist with the BBC Concert Orchestra (CO) in London, a post he still holds over 30 years later.
The BBC Concert Orchestra is the most versatile of the BBC’s performing groups recording and playing for all their radio and television networks in a variety of roles. For Radio 2 the BBC CO is the mainstay for the world’s longest running live music show, Friday Night is Music Night and Alasdair has been featured on that programme many times as soloist and as arranger. The orchestra appears every year at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall and in Hyde Park for Proms in the Park as well as many gala events such as The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace.
What makes Alasdair unique is his completely eclectic and inclusive attitude to music that has led him to work in all genres and with a wide range of artists such as Bjork, Jarvis Cocker and Scott Walker.
In 2012 he played at the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics with Mike Oldfield. He is one of only a handful of musicians worldwide who play the glass harmonica on which he is a virtuoso performer and is much sought after as a soloist on film and television scores.
Alasdair has also made an outstanding contribution to music education, devising, producing and presenting a series of concerts for children, families and schools that he tours all over the world, including concerts for Children’s Classic Concerts (CCC) in Scotland. In so doing he has introduced hundreds of thousands of people to music.
Commenting on his Honorary Degree Alasdair Malloy said: “I am astonished and thrilled by this award. It was a particular pleasure for me to receive this honour from UWS in my hometown of Paisley as it was thanks to the many and varied opportunities available to me as a young inquisitive musician in the West of Scotland and the teachers and other musicians who took time to nurture and channel my enthusiasms which prepared the way for the wide-ranging and diverse career I have enjoyed.
“I am delighted to have received this award from UWS particularly because it does not focus on any one aspect of my musical life but rather celebrates the diversity which I have enjoyed throughout my career. I believe that there is so much to be gained from keeping an open and searching musical mind as well as actively sharing experiences and enthusiasms with others and I am very honoured that this should be recognised.”
Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have awarded Alasdair, who makes such an important contribution not just culturally but also socially, with an Honorary Doctorate. His approach to music fits with UWS’ philosophy of enabling everyone to be able to access music and education and he will undoubtedly be an inspiration to our high quality music students. He is a truly deserving recipient of this award.”