Ian Whyte (1901-1960) was Director of Scottish Music – BBC (1935-1946) and Principal Conductor BBC Scottish Orchestra (1946-1960). He was a Scottish composer and conductor, born in Dunfermline in 1901. His musical training began in London, where he studied piano at the Royal College of Music. He also studied composition with Stanford and Vaughan Williams.
Returning to Scotland in 1923, Whyte became music director for Lord Glentanar for a number of years, before being appointed to the new BBC post of Director Scottish Music. In December 1935 he founded the BBC Scottish Orchestra (forerunner of today’s BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra) whose first appointed conductor was Guy Warrack. Whyte became full time conductor of the orchestra in 1946.
Ian Whyte arranged many Scottish traditional songs and dances. He also worked on restoring fragments of music – from madrigals to choral works and pieces for strings etc. He even composed a ballet, Donald of the Burthens, in which bagpipes were included in the orchestration!
Among his young Assistant Conductors at the BBC Scottish Orchestra were musicians such as Alexander Gibson and Colin Davis who subsequently went on to major international careers. During Whyte’s terminal illness his work as a conductor was taken over largely by Bryden Thomson, but his commitment to the orchestra lasted until his death on 27 March 1960.
Auld Lang Syne
This is Ian Whyte’s dignified and rich a cappella setting of Burns’ song of parting using the more famous tune as originally selected by song editor George Thomson.
Ye Banks and Braes
Here Ian Whyte sets Burns’ famous love song with its original tune ‘The Caledonian Hunt’s Delight’, with a lyrical tenor carrying the melody.