Alastair Stout was born in Derby, England in 1975. His family moved to the Shetland Islands in 1981 and he grew up in Vidlin, around 20 miles north of Lerwick; and nearly 140 miles from the Scottish mainland and around 220 miles to Norway, as the crow flies.
He studied at the Royal College of Music (1993 – 97) with Joseph Horovitz and John Birch (winning prizes in composition, organ and music history), the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1997 – 98) with Robert Saxton and Graham Elliot, and Royal Holloway, University of London (1998 – 2001) with Simon Holt where he graduated with a PhD in composition.
During his time in London, he became Assistant Organist at Wesley’s Chapel, the Mother Church of World Methodism.
In 1995 he won the Glasgow Orchestral Society’s Young Composer Award and in 1996 received a commission to write an anthem for the opening of the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. His first String Quartet won the Gregynog Composers Award of Wales 1999.
In 2002, Alastair relocated to the USA to take up the position of Music Director at the Coraopolis United Methodist Church near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2010 he became Director of the Pittsburgh Compline Choir. He is also Assisting Organist at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Highland Park, Pennsylvania.
Scottish folk music ﬂavours his work, and he also cites diverse compositional influences like Purcell, Gesualdo, Messiaen, and Elliott Carter.