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with Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle), Kit Downes (piano/harmonium) and guest director Simon Blendis (violin)

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Standard  £16.50
Under 26  £12.50
Student  £7
Unemployment Benefits £5
Under 16 Free
Carer Free

Book online here
Call 0141 332 5057
Or in person at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 100 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G2 3DB

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Elemental centres around a new piece for harmonium, piano, fiddle and string orchestra by Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes – two musicians with an embarrassment of accolades, and a taste for musical pioneering.

There is no beginning fuses the visceral energy and haunting beauty of Aidan’s traditional roots with wisps of jazz, folk and modern classical. Surrounding it will come a clutch of contemporary works that speak to us of all things elemental – space, silence, waves and air – intertwined with melodies which echo an ancient Scotland.

The piece – and the performance – are inspired by Edwin Morgan’s 1984 poem Slate, generally accepted as a love letter to a politically- and environmentally-battered Scotland. Led by guest director Simon Blendis, together with Aidan and Kit we’ll explore themes of time, change and transformation, particularly in relation to our nation and our world; entities that, as with music, are subject to the constant processes of time. Through sound, we’ll conjure thoughts of the past, present and future of the land we all share – as well as creating a space to contemplate it.

About the artists

Aidan O’Rourke is a fiddler, producer and award-winning composer who has pioneered a new sound in folk music and redefined traditional forms. As well as performing with his band Lau – who have won Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards an unprecedented four times – Aidan performs as a solo artist, finding new ways of articulating the tradition.

Kit Downes is a pianist, organist and harmonium player. He has toured the world performing on various keyboard instruments with his own bands – ENEMY, Troyka, Elt and Vyamanikal – as well as artists such as Squarepusher, Thomas Strønen and Django Bates, and collaborated with film-makers, video game developers and classical composers. A BBC Jazz Award winner, Kit has also been nominated for a Mercury Music Award. Amongst their many collaborations and solo projects, Kit and Aidan perform together as a duo.

As leader of the Schubert Ensemble for 23 years, Simon Blendis has performed in over thirty different countries, recorded over twenty CDs, made frequent broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, and created an extensive library of live performances on YouTube. In great demand as an orchestral leader, he has appeared with most of the UK’s major symphony and chamber orchestras. He has been leader of the London Mozart Players since 2014 and, as a keen exponent of new music, Simon has had works for solo violin written for him by, amongst others, Tansy Davies, Stuart Macrae, John Woolrich and jazz legend Dave Brubeck, as well as new violin concertos by David Knotts and Jeff Moore.

Pre-concert talk

Join us at 6.45pm for a free pre-concert talk. In conversation with Scottish Ensemble, Aidan O’Rourke will discuss the concept and themes behind his new piece.


Aidan O’Rourke and Kit Downes
There is no beginning

Tansy Davies
The Beginning of the World

Dave Fennessy
Hirta Rounds

György Ligeti

Ruth Crawford Seeger
Andante for Strings

Kit Downes
Last Leviathan

Plus pieces from Aidan O’Rourke’s recently released 365: Vol. 2

About the Venue

SWG3 is a multi-disciplinary arts venue located in the Finnieston area of Glasgow’s West End. There are different performance spaces within the SWG3 complex; for Continental Drift, we will be performing in the Galvaniser’s Yard. This is a large indoor space on the ground floor. The event will be fully seated, with a bar and toilet facilities.

Parking and accessibility

Metered parking is available on two neighbouring streets, Eastvale Place and Kelvinhaugh Street. Please see the SWG3 website for a map and recommendations for public transport.

There is a number of blue badge parking spaces available. If you would like to reserve a space, please call SWG3 on 0141 337 1731. The venue space is on the ground floor, and is fully accessible. If you’d like to discuss any access or assistance needs, please call the venue or the Scottish Ensemble office team on 0141 332 4747.

What to Expect

If this is your first time attending a Scottish Ensemble performance and you’re not quite sure what to expect, you may be interested in the What to Expect page on our website. 

The programme for this concert will be available online before the concert and large print and audio versions can be provided on request.

If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing office@scottishensemble.co.uk or by giving us a call on 0141 332 4747.

Elemental is supported by The PRS Open Fund for Organisations

Prelude – skydiving from a dream at SWG3, Glasgow

Tue 12 Nov 2019 at 7:30 pm

100 Eastvale Place, Glasgow, G3 8QG