Who We Are
Music Planet is directed jointly by Richard Bates and Michael Downes, with Meg Hyland serving as coordinator.
Richard Bates is a Reader in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of St Andrews. Music Planet was born out of his desire to bring out the relationship between his research, which includes investigating the impact of climate change with cutting-edge geophysical surveys, and the music produced in the landscapes he studies. A very active member of the University community, Richard is involved in several interdisiciplinary projects including the Centre for Landscape Studies, the Marine Alliance for Science & Technology Scotland, the Scottish Oceans Institute, and the St Andrews Sustainability Institute.
Michael Downes is Director of Music at the University of St Andrews. Since starting in this position in 2008, he has led the creation of many exciting new musical initiatives, including Byre Opera and the St Andrews Voices Festival, and has developed the role of the University’s Music Centre to make it an integral part of the St Andrews community. He oversaw the transition of the Byre Theatre into University management and served as the theatre’s Artistic Director between 2014 and 2016. He conducts the St Andrews Chamber Orchestra, Byre Opera and the St Andrews Chorus, now Scotland’s largest choral society. He lectures on music and opera across the UK and Europe, and his publications include a highly acclaimed book on the music of Jonathan Harvey.
Meg Hyland graduated from the University of St Andrews in June 2017 with a first-class MA (Hons) in Mediaeval History. She has helped plan concerts and other events during her time as Vice President of the St Andrews Chorus and as a volunteer at the Scottish Fisheries Museum. Her research into the music of the Scottish fishing industry resulted in her curation of an event in collaboration with the Scottish Fisheries Museum and Connecting Scotland’s Sounds called “A Cran of Songs: Memories of Scottish Fishing Music”. As Music Planet coordinator, she maintains Music Planet’s online presence, provides administrative support, contributes to educational outreach, and plans events.