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

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Standard  £14
Under 26  £12.50
Student  £7
Unemployment Benefits £5
Under 16 Free
Carer Free

Book online
Call 01382 434 940
In person at Dundee Box Office, 16 City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BG

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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

The concert will take place in the Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee DD1 3BB. It will start at 7.30pm and finish at approximately 9.30pm with a 20 minute interval and a free pre-concert talk at 6.45pm. There are café-bars on both the stalls and balcony levels, which are open half an hour prior to the performance and at the interval.

The closest secure parking can be found on Gellatly Street and on Greenmarket. 


Caird Hall is accessible for wheelchair users via the ramps from City Square. Once inside the venue there is a lift to the balcony level next to the ramp at the West door. Accessible toilets are available on both the stalls and the balcony levels together with an adult change facility off the main corridor. Registered assistance dogs are welcome and staff will be happy to provide water. Should you have any specific requirements please contact the venue on 01382 434451 or email cairdhall@leisureandculturedundee.com

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

Caird Hall, Dundee

Sun 10 Nov 2019 at 7:30 pm

City Square, Dundee, Scotland DD1 3BG United Kingdom