Scottish Ensemble is a group of outstanding musicians who champion music written for strings, crossing genres, styles, periods, and art forms to make new connections.
You might find them playing in a prestigious concert hall, a shopping centre, your local pub or an international music festival; by performing in as many different places as possible, they aim to reach as many different people as possible, letting them experience and enjoy classical music in a way that is relevant to them. Linking each and every event is a commitment to live performance of the highest quality.
Re-defining the string orchestra, Scottish Ensemble (SE) inspires audiences in the UK and beyond with vibrant performances which are powerful, challenging and rewarding experiences. The UK’s leading string orchestra is based in Glasgow and is built around a core of outstanding string players who perform together under Artistic Director Jonathan Morton.
Committed to musical collaboration, SE regularly collaborates with high-profile guest artists, with recent examples including trumpeter Alison Balsom, mezzo-sopranos Sarah Connolly and Karen Cargill, cellist Pieter Wispelwey and violinists Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Nicola Benedetti.
SE is also becoming increasingly known for its international collaborations with artists from other disciplines, from dance and theatre companies to visual artists. Starting in 2014, their series of annual cross-artform collaborations has so far included immersive projects with: visual artist Toby Paterson; Swedish contemporary dance company Andersson Dance; electronic-classical crossover composer Anna Meredith and visual artist Eleanor Meredith, and Scottish theatre company Vanishing Point.
Alongside performances across Scotland, SE regularly performs in London, at venues including Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and the Barbican Centre, and has recently appeared at the Edinburgh International, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Thuringia Bach Festivals amongst many others. Recent invitations to tour abroad have resulted in engagements in Taiwan, China, Brazil, the USA and across Europe.
Committed to developing the string repertoire, SE seeks out unusual pieces, and has commissioned a rich catalogue of new works from some of the brightest voices working in music today. In recent years, these have included composers such as Sir John Tavener, James MacMillan, Sally Beamish, Martin Suckling, John Woolrich, Craig Armstrong, Luke Bedford, Thea Musgrave, Anna Meredith and Gabriela Montero.
SE is also committed to bringing the myriad benefits of music to diverse groups of people and communities through its comprehensive programme of creative learning and outreach activities. In 2012, SE launched its Residency programme, aiming to engage communities around major Scottish Ensemble touring venues with music of the highest quality, in ways relevant to them. The bespoke four-day residencies have included: late-night events, masterclasses, ‘pop-up’ performances, coaching sessions, free community performances, collaborative cross-genre projects, and participatory events including tea dances and ceilidhs.
SE’s extensive recording catalogue includes: EMI Classics’ top-selling CD of 2010, Italian Concertos with Alison Balsom; a two-disc series on respected label Linn Records (2015); and a recording of Anna Meredith’s Anno, released on the Moshi Moshi imprint (2018).
Founded in 1969, across its 2019/20 season, Scottish Ensemble will celebrate its 50th anniversary.