John M. Mason, MBE 1940 – 2011
Founder & Musical Director
Music in general, and Scottish music in particular, had been the lifelong interests of this lawyer from Troon in Ayrshire, whose fiddling stemmed from his Orcadian roots, followed by his later upbringing in Wigtownshire.
The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra is largely his creation and he was its Director of Music and Principal Conductor since the first performance in 1980 right up until his death. With few exceptions, the orchestral arrangements, both instrumental and vocal, have been penned by John and these now approach some 500 items! He maintained that he could wallpaper his house with all the handwritten parts but felt it would be a bit boring.
In 1987 John’s efforts both in music and in the raising of charity monies through music were recognised in his being awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace: a day he never forgot.
It is generally accepted in Scottish musical circles that John has been very much responsible for the “popularising” of Scottish fiddle music. Over the last thirty years he saw the change in teaching attitudes towards traditional music, from it being regarded as the “poor relation” in violin teaching, to the vibrant force “fiddle” music presently enjoys.