The Orchestra - Principals
Polly McMillan

Principal Percussion


Polly McMillan


Born in Oxford, Polly grew up in Edinburgh and after playing the cello for several years, started to have percussion lessons at her local high school before moving to Manchester in 2001 to study at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Whilst at the RNCM Polly studied with Ian Wright, Paul Patrick, Liz Gilliver and Dave Hassell. She also took part in several master classes with visiting tutors, most memorably Rainer Seegers (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra), Eric Sammut (Orchestre de Paris) and Birger Sulsbruck (Latin Percussion specialist).  Polly played for all of the main college ensembles and took part in CD and radio recordings with the RNCM Wind Orchestra and Brass Ensemble. In 2005 she was awarded the college’s Gilbert Webster prize for percussion.

Since finishing her postgraduate studies in 2006 Polly has enjoyed a freelance career combining teaching and performance. Teaching has included peripatetic work in primary and secondary schools, music centres as well as youth orchestra tutoring and leading samba workshops in schools. She is currently the percussion tutor for the Scottish Schools Orchestra Trust.
Polly is the Orchestra Manager for the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra and in 2012 was privileged to work for the British Council as Orchestra Manager with the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq during their month-long visit to Britain.

Performance work for Polly regularly varies between musical theatre work and playing pop and Latin percussion with function bands, to baroque timpani and orchestral percussion. Memorable performances have included productions of Britten’s ‘Turn of the Screw’ for the Aberdeen International Youth Festival and ‘Death in Venice’ for the Aldeburgh Festival in 2007.  Polly works regularly with the Manchester Concert Orchestra and Skipton Camerata.


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