Scott Macmillan

Scott Macmillan

 Halifax, Nova Scotia, CAN

Scott is sometimes referred to as the Frank Zappa of East Coast Music. A musical chameleon with ears wide open, an enthusiastic & intuitive composer/performer. From Symphony Halls to University Halls to Community Halls, under the stars or in the bars, anywhere there’s musical creativity happening.


Once inked, a Scott Macmillan biography is at once out of date, for he and his passion for creating music have already moved on to a new composition, arrangement commission, collaboration, performance, musical directing live or in the studio, conducting, teaching, or as a clinician. Driven by his need to be creative Macmillan seeks opportunities in all aspects of music making. That love has inspired exploration into genres from rock to blues, classical to choral, Celtic to jazz, as well as modern and avant-garde.

Music has taken Macmillan to places, like Carnegie Hall in New York, to perform his much loved ode to our world’s oceans “Celtic Mass for the Sea”, with his partner and librettist Jennyfer Brickenden. He has performed in the British Isles and Germany, the US and has crossed Canada many times to conduct orchestras, perform, make television and radio shows and sound tracks for films. Yet the many who seek out his talents know that Nova Scotia, the home of his birth, is where to find him.

A musical treasure, Macmillan has played a significant role expanding audiences for Atlantic Canadian music both nationally and internationally for over 30 years. Acknowledged by Rita MacNeil as an integral contributor to her success, Scott has played an equally pivotal role in the rise of the Rankin Family Band, Symphony Nova Scotia’s Maritime Pops programming and the Nova Scotia Mass Choir.

Ultimately, it’s the connections with people that feed Macmillan, inspiring and motivating his performances and creative talent. “When I create, I think of the people in the audience first and then I think of the musicians”. “It’s the thrill of creating something for people that no one else has done, but when they hear it, they feel like they have heard it before,” enthuses Macmillan. That ethic continues to inspire audiences and musicians to love Scott’s works such as “MacKinnon’s Brook Suite”, “Currents of Sable Island”, “Suite Silver Dart” and “Within Sight of Shore”. Scott has taken his guitar prowess into his myriad of music styles. An animated performer Scott lets loose composing and performing with his12-piece jazz ensemble, “Scott 'n the Rocks”, and in his musically challenging guitar duo with Brian Doyle.

Inspired by his desire to learn and expand his own musical knowledge and how as the best students make the best teachers, Scott has joined the Faculty of Music at Dalhousie University to mentor a new generation of guitarists.

Awards, appointments, commissions and critical reviews all reflect Macmillan’s success establishing his contribution to the music of Nova Scotia and the world. He has shown us, with his live performances and creative works, a great personal legacy of written music, recorded music, and music presented from the grandeur of concert halls to the intimacy living rooms. And while his biography will always be out of date, as he continues to grow and evolve, Scott Macmillan’s musical legacy is lasting and timeless.


Bendictus: 'Celtic Mass for the Sea"

Written By: Composer, Scott Macmillan; Libretto, Jennyfer Brickenden


Come and come is seaweed,
Come and come is red sea-ware,
Come is yellow weed, come is tangle,
Come is food which the waves enwraps.
("come" here is a term of praise)

Let all the fish that swim the sea
Salmon and tarbot, cod and ling
Bow down their head and bend their knee
To Herring their King!
To Herring their King!

He who tramples on the world
He tramples on himself.

(Text is extrapolated from early Celtic Incantactions and Prayers)


**2012 ECMA winner 'Within Sight of Shore'; for Classical Recording of the Year Composer/performer/co-producer; April 16th 2011

**2012 ECMA winner, 'Within Sight of Shore' for DVD of the Year; Composer/performer/co-producer; April 16th 2011

*2011 ECMA nominee 'Live Off the Floor' Scott Macmillan & Brian Doyle Sept 11, 2010

*2007 ECMA nominee; Le Grand Cercle, Live Cast Recording; musical director/co-producer; 2006

'Late December' -Rita MacNeil; co-producer/guitarist; 2002

**2002 ECMA Classical Recording winner 'MacKinnon's Brook Suite', Symphony N.S. & Ian McKinnon co-producer/ conductor/composer

'Music of a Thousand Nights', Rita MacNeil; co-producer, arranger, instrumentalist; 1998

'On a Personal Note' Rita MacNeil & Vancouver Symphony Orchestra; Conductor/arranger/guitarist; 1999

**1997 ECMA winner & 1998 ECMA nominee 'Scott Macmillan Presents: The Minnie Sessions Vol. **1, *2 & *3' composer/co-producer/guitarist; 96/97/98

'Joyful Sounds, a Seasonal Collection' Rita MacNeil; co-producer and arranger; 1996

'An East Coast Tribute Vol. 1 & Vol. 2' Stan Rogers, ; music director;/instrumentalist; 1995/96

The Rankin Family; Collection; location producer in Ireland with Chieftains; 1996

'Endless Seasons' The Rankin Family; Pre production; 1995

Here and Now; Canada Council's CD, 50 years of the UN: Benedictus - Celtic Mass for the Sea; 1996

**1997 ECMA winner *Puirt a Baroque; 'Bach Meets Cape Breton' co-arranger/composer/ guitarist 1995

*1994 ECMA nominee 'Celtic Mass for the Sea' for choir, Celtic ensemble & strings, composer/arranger;

*1994 ECMA nominee 'GUITAR SOULS: LIVE' Dave MacIsaac and Scott Macmillan co-producer/performer

Set List

With all my musical endeavors I perform primarily from, my own compositions, whether those compositions come from the Celtic, blues, jazz, and improvised repertoire. Therefore my set lists are every evolving to suit the occasion.

Scott as a solo guitarist:
An exceptional guitarist, "Macmillan has more licks and more styles up his sleeve than an octopus has arms" -Stephen Pederson 01/99 (For more info go to

Scott Macmillan and Brian Doyle:
Release of their 1st duo recording 'Live Off the Floor'
Release date Sept 11, 2010

Synchronistic guitar interplay… Ever pushing musical boundaries… Live off the Floor directly reflects the pleasure Scott and Brian have playing together. ......................Throwing caution to the wind, these two guitar wizards mesmerize with remarkable imaginative guitar interplay transporting their audiences from the Highlands to the Blues and just about everywhere in-between! ( for more info about Scott and Brian go