Grant McLachlan

Hand written notes


In the 1980s I was active in the theatre, both as a composer and as Musical Director for various theatre companies. I composed songs and incidental music for several productions, including Tom Jones, and Pravda, and also wrote two musicals: Cyrano, and When Dinah Saw a Dinosaur.

In 1992 I gave up teaching to pursue a career in composing for film and television after obtaining an MA in Electro-acoustic Music for Film and Television at Bournemouth University. I have composed music for more than 60 wildlife documentaries including Mountain Of The Sea, part of the BBC Natural World series, as well as many films for Londolozi Productions such as Living with Tigers, a Discovery Channel special.

Other documentaries include City Slickers, a film about penguins which won an international Emmy award nomination; Cosmic Africa, a feature/documentary about the personal odyssey of African Astronomer Thebe Madupe, as he journeys through Africa, by award winning film makers Craig and Damon Foster (together with co-composer Barry Donnelly, I won a Stone Craft award for the music for this film); Flying with Condors, a film about a world champion hang-glider, and her attempt to fly with Condors; Ocean Voyagers, a feature documentary about humpback whales; and Sharkman, a Discovery special, screened as part of Discovery’s 2007 Sharkweek.

Feature films include Running Wild, starring Brooke Shields and Martin Sheen with John Varty; a thriller set in Australia, Deadly Chase; a film for German television; The Jammed, a fact-based film about sex trafficking in Melbourne, Australia (for which he received the award for best music at the Inside Film Awards, Brisbane 16th November 2007); and Faith Like Potatoes, based on the autobiography of Kwazulu-Natal farmer, Angus Buchan; 2099: A Soldier Protocol, directed by Dee McLachlan in 2018.

As part of Animal Planet’s 10th anniversary, the documentary “Ocean Voyagers” was screened in London in December 2007, the music being performed live with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by film composer Debbie Wiseman.

I have written much choral music, the most popular of which is Come, Colours Rise, a South African Christmas Anthem with words by Frank Barry, published by Theodore Presser. “Evening Hymn” was written for and performed by the choir of Val-de-Grace in Paris in 2006.

Umbhiyozo Wase Afrika, for harpsichord and African percussion and commissioned by Elisabeth Chojnacka, was first performed at the Gulbenkian festival in Lisbon in 1999.

In 2010, I collaborated with Bruce Muirhead in creating music for 33 short films as a commission from FIFA for the 2010 world cup, held in South Africa.


A huge influence in my life came from several years of piano study, and a continuing friendship with Lise-Martine Jeanneret, in turn a pupil of Madeleine Lipatti. Her infectious enthusiasm and deep understanding of all periods of music, as well as support for my composing, continues to inspire me. Lise-Martine also commissioned several compositions from me for her Music at Mill House summer festivals.

Studies at Oxford with the legendary Dr Bernard Rose also had an impact, and instilled a love of 16th and 17th century English choral music. He laid an invaluable pedagogic background to my music studies.

Composition studies with Jeremy Dale Roberts inspired rigorous discipline and insightful thought into my writing.

Above all, J S Bach has been an ever-present passion, guide and model for me.


During the 1980s, I was very involved as composer and performer with the Music At Mill House festival in Oxfordshire, a brain-child of Lise-Martine Jeanneret. I composed several works for the festival over the years, including Forest, Woods, Dreams; Fantasie-Polonaise for Elizabeth Chojnacka; and Cascades I & II.


In the 1980s I gave several solo piano recitals and recital/lectures, playing music by Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy, Schoenberg, Webern, Kodaly and Boucourechliev and others

In the UK I partnered with Charles Wookey in several recitals for two pianos, playing Bach, Mozart, Milhaud, Ligeti, Rachmaninov, Schubert and others.

Back in South Africa I partnered with Susan Gough in a two piano programme in Cape Town and at the Grahamstown Festival in 1996; included were two of my own pieces.


MA (Oxon), MMus (Lond.), MA PGdip (B’mouth), LRAM (pno perf.), ARCM (pno. tch.)

Cape Town:

1974: Piano with Lamar Crowson

1972-75: Flute with Konrad Hüenteler and Rainer Strauss

1975: Piano and composition, Peter Klatzow


1975-1978: BA/MA (Music) (first class) at Magdalen College, Oxford: Techniques of Composition with Dr Bernard Rose, and History of Music with David Wulstan. Choral scholar in Magdalen College Choir.

1976 on: Piano with Lise-Martine Jeanneret

1978-1981: Composition with Jeremy Dale Roberts

1981: LRAM Piano teaching

1983: ARCM Piano performing

1981-1983: MMus at King’s College London: Composition with David Lumsdaine

1992/3: PGdipMA in Film Music, Bournemouth University: Stephen Deutsch