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Scottish Ensemble is excited to announce the details of its 2017-18 season.








Spanning August 2017 to July 2018, the 2017-18 season is packed full of events across Scotland, London and beyond, including concerts inspired by film music, folk music, Mozart and more, collaborators including mezzo-soprano Christine Rice and vocal ensemble I Fagiolini, and a brand new collaboration with pioneering Scottish theatre company Vanishing Point. 

Community, outreach and creative learning events continue to make up a significant part of Scottish Ensemble’s annual output, with SE Residencies (three or four day stays in one area, offering a variety of community and participatory events) taking place this season in Mull, Dundee, Inverness and Dumfries. Scottish Ensemble will also return to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for a week-long coaching programme, with students working towards a public concert on the final day.

Goldberg Variations – ternary patterns for insomnia, Scottish Ensemble’s 2015 collaboration with contemporary Swedish dance company Andersson Dance also continues its international demand, with performances in Shanghai (October 2017), Washington D.C. (April 2018) and London (July 2018).

The majority of events are now on sale – please see individual events for booking details.


Collaboration in co-production with Vanishing Point

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At the centre of the 2017-18 season will be Scottish Ensemble’s cross-artform collaboration with pioneering international theatre company Vanishing Point. 

Directed by Vanishing Point Artistic Director Matthew Lenton, this innovative production will set Scottish Ensemble’s interpretation of one of Arvo Pärt’s most profound and transcendental works, Tabula Rasa, within a theatrical context, with musicians forming an integral part of the drama. It will explore the documented role of the piece in the care of people experiencing their last days, and how the work brought solace and salvation.

Previews take place at Platform, Glasgow on 3 – 4 Nov before performances at The Traverse, Edinburgh (9-11 Nov, plus preview on 8 Nov), Eden Court, Inverness (16 Nov) and Tramway, Glasgow (22-24 Nov).

Tours across Scotland and London

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Scottish Ensemble will embark upon six tours across the length and breadth of Scotland, as well as performances in London, offering its trademark exciting mix of programmes championing music for strings, and making interesting connections across time, style, period and genre.

Examples include: a programme inspired by film soundtracks and scores; SE’s much-loved annual Concerts by Candlelight series, taking place in atmospheric churches and cathedrals; chamber music by Mozart and Brahms; an exploration of folk music from across centuries and countries; and a journey through Mozart’s incredible range, from his solo works to his symphonies.

I Fagiolini

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Directed by Robert Hollingworth, vocal ensemble I Fagiolini was founded in 1986 at Oxford University, performing Renaissance and contemporary works for voice. In its 20 years of performing, the group has gone on to become an innovative and respected name in early music, putting on around 50 concerts a year – from the BBC Proms to European and international festivals, as well as imaginative staged performances through its Theatre of Music project, including The Full Monteverdi and Tallis in Wonderland.

I Fagiolini join Scottish Ensemble for its atmospheric Concerts by Candlelight series in December 2017, performing a programme of music old and new, accompanied and unaccompanied, in churches and cathedrals across Scotland.

“An irrepressible force in the early music world, bringing bags of style, energy and dramatic excitement to everything they touch.” International Record Review on I Fagiolini


Christine Rice

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One of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation, Christine Rice has built a well-deserved reputation across her career, with specific praise for her talents as a charismatic singing actress. Regularly performing at the major European opera houses, she also has a busy schedule of concert appearances, appearing throughout the UK, Europe and North America at events including the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International and Aldeburgh festivals.

Christine joins Scottish Ensemble in February 2018 for a programme exploring time, fate and prophecy in Greek mythology, including Stravinsky’s ‘white ballet’, Appolon Musagète, as well as extracts from Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas and Berlioz’s Les Troyens.


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Scottish Ensemble ‘Residencies’ are three or four day stays in a particular location, during which the group delivers a range of participatory and creative learning activities, as well as performances in unusual places. With the aim of bringing the joy of playing and listening to music to as many people as possible, the events focus on those who have less access to music, and range from tailored coaching with amateur musicians to performances outside the concert hall, in spaces from pubs to care homes to supermarkets.

This season, SE returns to two of its core Residency cities, Dundee and Inverness, continuing with existing long-term activities and partnerships which have been built over the past six years as well as exploring new opportunities with new and different groups of people. SE will also return to its newer locations of both Mull and Dumfries, strengthening and expanding on the programme of events offered in each.

The Cumnock Tryst

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Scottish Ensemble is thrilled to be this year’s official Artist in Residence at Sir James MacMillan’s much-lauded annual festival of music. Across four days, events include three exciting world premieres, an event in collaboration with Drake Music, and a promenade performance at Dumfries House.

Edinburgh International Festival

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A trio from Scottish Ensemble joins an exciting cast of musicians, visual artists and poets for Had We Never, a multi-arts exploration of Robert Burns at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

Featuring poet and Makar Jackie Kay, singer-songwriter Ghetto Priest, bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott and countertenor David James, Had We Never uses poetry, art and live music to explore the connections between Robert Burns, slavery and Scotland. Across a packed hour, audiences will enjoy visual art by eminent Scottish contemporary artists Graham Fagen and Douglas Gordon, Sally Beamish’s new setting of Burns’ The Slave’s Lament, a performance of Arvo Pärt’s mesmerising arrangement of My Heart’s In The Highlands and a new poem written and read by Jackie Kay.

Beamish’s composition, The Slave’s Lament, was composed as part of a project of the same title by Graham Fagen. The 14-minute piece, recorded by Scottish Ensemble and Ghetto Priest, formed part of an audio-visual art installation bringing together classical composition, the Scottish folk tradition and Jamaican reggae. The Slave’s Lament featured as part of Scotland’s official exhibition at the world’s most prestigious visual arts show, the Venice Biennale, and has also appeared at the National Portrait Gallery, London and the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery.