Sir John Blackwood McEwen

John Blackwood McEwen is a 20th century composer. He was born on the 13th of April 1868, and died on the 24th of June 1948. He came to Hawick when his father was appointed the minister of East Bank Church now Trinity Church. When he was a child he attended Hawick Grammar School. He then went on to attend Glasgow University graduating with an MA in 1888, before advancing to study at the Royal Academy of Music. He then returned to the University to be a teacher at the Athenaeum from 1895 to 1898. In 1895 he was also appointed to the post of the South Parish Church Choirmaster in Greenock. After this he returned to the Royal Academy of Music inLondon, and became a Professor of Harmony and Composition there. In 1924 he became Principal of the school retiring after 11 years in 1936.

In 1931 he was awarded a Knighthood, and in 1933 the Universityof Glasgow awarded him an Honorary LLD.   In 1947, Sir John McEwen donated his compositions to the University of Glasgow and founded the McEwen Bequest. In 1948 he died at the age of 80 in London. He  He is mainly recognised for his composition of Solway symphony an orchestral work on Galloway where he had been born and is regarded by many people in Scotland as one of the 20th Century’s leading composers,

By Emily Lockie