Real Lives: Roy’s musical work has struck all the right notes

A distinguished figure in Scottish classical music has been awarded an OBE.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 19th October 2011, 1:02 pm

Roy McEwan, the chief executive of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra has been given royal recognition for his contribution to music.

Mr McEwan, who lives in Portobello, was made an OBE as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Colleagues have paid tribute to the 60-year-old’s work, while he himself said his achievement could not have happened without the support of his co-workers past and present.

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Mr McEwan, who described himself as “delighted and privileged” to be recognised, said the award was for everyone who worked in the arts in Scotland.

He said: “Everything we do in the performing arts is achieved through working together, and so any recognition of this kind is an accolade for the arts in Scotland.

“In my case, for all the organisations I’ve been lucky enough to work for over the last 30 years and, above all, for the wonderful Scottish Chamber Orchestra.”

Mr McEwan was born in Dumfries and has lived in many parts of the UK, including London where he studied at the School of Economics.

Further stints followed at the city’s St George’s Theatre and Whitechapel Art Gallery, then he moved to the University of Stirling’s MacRobert Arts Centre.

Before settling in Edinburgh he lived in Manchester where he was director of arts development for the North West Arts Board.

After arriving in Edinburgh, he became influential in musical development at two of the city’s universities.

In 1993, he joined the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, an association that is still going strong today.

Current chairman Donald MacDonald paid tribute to his friend and colleague.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted that Roy has been given this well-deserved award.

“Since Roy became chief executive of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the early 1990s he has played a crucial role in establishing it as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world, with an international reputation for its live performances at home and abroad and its many recordings.

“The award of this OBE is a very appropriate recognition also of his contribution to the Scottish arts and music scene and all he has helped to achieve.”

Alongside his involvement with the orchestra, Mr McEwan chaired the Federation of Scottish Theatres from 1988 to 1991 and was a Scottish Arts Council member until 2007.

A fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, he is a member of convocation at Heriot-Watt University and was a founding member of the validation panel for the BMus (Hons) course at Napier University.