"Steeped in the English choral tradition . . . Douglas Mason's music is inventive and accessible, beautifully structured and crafted, offering much for both performers and audiences alike. A freshness and vitality of spirit imbue his music with great character and quality."- David Heyes, Recital Music
Douglas Mason is a British composer who began his musical education as a chorister in Gloucester Cathedral Choir under the organist and composer, Dr. John Sanders OBE. He studied the French horn with Mark Foster, a founder member of the Philharmonia Orchestra, read Music at Durham University and went on to train as a music teacher at Leeds University while singing professionally as a lay clerk in the Choir of Leeds Minster. Having also gained considerable experience as a freelance French horn player, Douglas now works in both the Academic Music and Composition Departments at Chetham's School of Music, the internationally renowned specialist music school in Manchester, England. Additionally, for several years he sang with the William Byrd Singers, directed by Stephen Wilkinson MBE.
As a performer, Douglas has sung and played extensively in the UK and abroad in numerous venues ranging from the Royal Albert Hall in London to St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. He has appeared on many television and radio broadcasts for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and also on recordings for several labels including Priory, Alpha (Abbey) and ASC records.
Joint winner of both the 2016 Three Choirs Festival Composition Competition and also the 2021 12 Days Composition Challenge run in partnership with the Ryedale Festival, Douglas writes both instrumental and choral music, the latter being an area in which he has a particular interest. Since the publication of his Preces, Responses & The Lord’s Prayer in 1998, he has received numerous performances of his choral works, notably by The Gesualdo Six, Exeter Cathedral Choir, Gloucester Cathedral Choir, Manchester Cathedral Choir, the Southwell Festival Voices, Antiphon, Chetham's Chamber Choir and the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral Montreal. His choral music has been broadcast live on radio on a number of occasions and his Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (‘The Gloucester Service’) and Christmas carol Videntes Stellam in particular have been performed many times since their premieres, Videntes Stellam also having featured in the 2016 BBC1 series, Christmas City. In 2017 Douglas’ song What Passing-Bells? was premiered by Guy James at St. Columba’s Church London and was subsequently performed alongside another of his songs Drop, Drop, Slow Tears in the 2019 New Music Manchester festival. Having received its premiere at Southwell Minster in 2021, in 2023 Douglas' Snowscape, a setting of Walter de la Mare's poem Snow, was added to the catalogue of US publisher Walton Music.
With the publication of Douglas’ Three Pieces for organ in 2015, there has been increasing interest in his organ music. His Prelude No.3 was recorded by Carson Cooman in the same year and has since been performed in recitals and services around the UK at venues including York Minster, Ely Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral, St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, St. John’s College Cambridge, Downing College Cambridge, Brecon Cathedral, Buckfast Abbey, Holy Sepulchre London, St. Ann’s Church Manchester and Cheltenham College Chapel. Following performances at Lichfield Cathedral, Christ Church Bristol and St. Martin’s Church Salisbury in 2018, 2019 saw the DVD recording of Douglas’ Fanfare for organ by Daniel Moult for the major Fugue State Films documentary series, The English Organ. Fanfare was also included on the album The English Organ Volume Six which was released in 2020 on over 50 streaming services worldwide including Spotify and Apple Music. In 2021 his Scherzo for organ received its London premiere at St. Pancras Church in the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music.
Music by Douglas has been included in the repertoire lists for ABRSM practical exams, his Freefall for cello and piano appearing in the Grade 7 syllabus for both 2020 to 2023 and also from 2024, and his Latin Dance for oboe and piano in the Grade 5 syllabus for 2022 onwards. Douglas is also the composer of one of the chimes played by Gloucester Cathedral’s bells.
His music is published by Animus Music Publishing, Banks Music Publications, Chichester Music Press, Encore Publications, Recital Music and Walton Music.