Duncan MacLeod read music specialising in vocal studies at Bath Spa University, before going on to study composition with John Woolrich and Continuing Professional Development at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He continued with postgraduate studies in composition with sonology at the Royal Conservatoire in The Netherlands under the tutelage of Louis Andriessen, Clarence Barlow and Martijn Padding. He then went onto complete his PhD in composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire and University of Kent under the supervision of Michael Finnissy.
Duncan currently teaches composition at the University of Nottingham having previously taught at, The University of Kent, Trinity College of Music and Goldsmiths College, University of London. He also works extensively as a workshop leader/animateur, working with the Wigmore Hall through to the London Sinfonietta.