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Scottish Ensemble has launched its 2018/19 Season. Artistic Director Jonathan Morton sheds a little light on the thinking behind the next eleven months of musical explorations.


During a recent performance class, some music students and I were looking at a score composed more than two hundred years ago, observing all the detailed information. Many questions inevitably arose, because there are usually several ways to read and interpret a score, and we started exploring what some of the answers might sound like. It occurred to me then that it might be rather beautiful and exciting to think of the notes and markings in the score not as instructions, but as clues.

What if we were to approach music in a different way, imagining that the supremely creative individuals we call ‘composers’ were – and are – in fact courageously foraying into unexplored parts of the human soul, motivated in part by a quest for something exalted, something that transcends the confines of what we know? Their manuscripts would then become their best attempts to map out their routes to these other worlds, where myriad treasures lay hidden.

What’s even more exciting is that the nature of these riches is ever-shifting, so composers can only ever leave us with a set of codified clues that we must learn to interpret – yet another layer to keep us all on our toes.

This season we’ll also be building towards a significant landmark – in summer 2019, we’ll be turning 50 years old. Across the 2019/20 season, we plan on celebrating past, present, and future, and we’d particularly love to hear from you if you’ve been a part of the group’s history, whether as a friend, fan, audience member, player or staff member. If you have memories, stories or anecdotes you’d like to share with us, please do send them to office@scottishensemble.co.uk.

But before all that, in the here and now, I’m hugely looking forward to engaging with a wealth of musical clues this season – and I very much hope you’ll join the quest. Take a look at the events on our website, or browse the season brochure.