For half a century, we have been shrinking the gap between listeners and musicians.
From our roots as a specialist early music ensemble, we’ve become a versatile performing group that makes ageless art for the here and now. Scottish Ensemble continue to resist the constraints of a home venue, a set season or a creative routine. We are shaped by the changing times in which we live and by the collaborations we seek across boundaries.

From the start, intimacy and individuality were our core values. Two freethinking Scots established the Scottish Baroque Ensemble in 1969. Three years later a core of twelve string players was visiting the Highlands and islands that other orchestras couldn’t reach. We made our international reputation with global tours, Edinburgh International Festival appearances, a high-profile contract with Virgin Records and one of the biggest sponsorship deals of its kind, when we were known for ten years as the BT Scottish Ensemble.

Now, we’re as likely to play the music of the distant past as the music of the immediate future. We delve into traditional Scottish music and commission the nation’s most visionary composers. Residencies away from Scotland’s central belt have proved testing grounds for new ways of playing and better ways of engaging with communities. We continuously reappraise the experience of our existing, new and potential audiences; we believe strongly that an audience itself shapes a performance.

After more than fifty years, we have redefined what a group of twelve musicians can do. These days we tend to design each performance as a bespoke experience: a meeting of site, sound and vision that generates an atmosphere of its own. In the last decade, we have made cross-artform work a priority, collaborating with visual artists, digital artists, dance companies and theatre makers. This exploratory work continually refreshes our musicianship and reboots our relationship to the music we’ve always played, from baroque concertos to music fresh off the page, helping us tell stories that connect with what matters in today’s world.

As a group of musicians, we hold our audience closer than ever. Our performances are designed to take you elsewhere for an hour, an evening or just a few minutes. Tea dances, ceilidhs, mindfulness sessions and work with those experiencing complex health needs continue to be vital elements of our artistic mission. Every engagement is special. Every performance is driven by artists who feel the privilege and responsibility of their work.

These days, Scottish Ensemble belongs everywhere and nowhere. The whole of Scotland is ours, but we also reach listeners here and everywhere through digital projects. With the support of Creative Scotland, we are proud to be a beacon of Scottish creativity that has led audiences to experience music differently. With us, you may not know what’s coming. But you know your ears will be in good hands.

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