David McGuinness divides his time between historical Scottish music and contemporary work. As director of early music ensemble Concerto Caledonia he has made fifteen albums, mostly of newly-rediscovered repertoire, and collaborated with musicians in a variety of genres from folk to punk cabaret.
Recently he has been playing historical pianos in traditional music: 2018’s What News is a collection of traditional Scots ballads with the singer Alasdair Roberts and sound artist Amble Skuse, and in 2022 he recorded an instrumental album with concertina player Simon Thoumire. In the ongoing performance project Nathaniel Gow’s Dance Band, Concerto Caledonia plays late 18th-century Scottish dance music while the audience dances the original figures.
David has been a music producer and composer for television and radio, most notably on several seasons of E4’s TV drama Skins. In 2007 he produced John Purser’s 50-part history of Scottish music for BBC Radio Scotland and co-ordinated the station’s observance of No Music Day with the artist Bill Drummond. In 2019 Sony Music reissued the Prefab Sprout album I Trawl the Megahertz, for which he provided the string arrangements.
He is Senior Lecturer in music at the University of Glasgow, and was principal investigator on the AHRC-funded research project Bass Culture in Scottish Musical Traditions. 2022 sees the publication of his edition of the music for Allan Ramsay’s ballad opera The Gentle Shepherd for Edinburgh University Press, and a recording with Concerto Caledonia of Ramsay’s songs.