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His first successful piece remains his best-known work, the overture The Land of the Mountain and the Flood, first performed at Crystal Palace on 5 November 1887. There are a handful of other orchestral pieces, several operas and various choral cantatas, mostly on Scottish themes.
He taught at the Royal College of Music from 1888 until 1894 and also worked as a conductor at the Carl Rosa Opera Company.
MacCunn died in London on 2 August 1916, aged forty-eight.