The Scottish Ensemble are just back from a whirlwind tour of China. Covering 3534km within China and reaching a total audience of 2746 over three concerts the musicians of the Scottish Ensemble had an experience they are not likely to forget! The concerts were held in three of China’s major cities; Beijing, Lanzhou (out in the west of China, closer to Mongolia and the Gobi desert than Beijing) and multi-cultural Shanghai. Audiences embraced a programme of string classics which included Grieg’s Holberg Suite, the Asian premiere performances of SE commission Tears of the Angels by Sir John Tavener, and Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony before culminating with Tchaikovsky’s lyrical Serenade for Strings. The encore of a Scottish reel also went down a treat. In Shanghai, the Ensemble gave an additional taster session the day before the concert with a workshop on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
To travel all that way and not sample some of the sights and delicacies of the country seemed wrong so on the travel days many of our musicians took the opportunity to visit some of the great historical sites including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the small Hutongs of Beijing and some of the world’s tallest buildings in Shanghai. Dumplings and duck were devoured in copious banquets although we drew the line at trying the fried scorpion and cockroaches!
The Ensemble is very grateful to Creative Scotland and the British Council’s UK NOW Festival for their support of the tour.
You can see all the photos from the tour by visiting our Flickr page.