Andrew Berridge on Breathe

"it taps into something very primal within us all"

We speak to violist Andrew Berridge about the Breathe tour, which he's curated.

25 October 2022

What is the aim of Breathe?

Following on from our work based around mindfulness both with Maggie’s Centres across Scotland and with schools, there seemed to be a deeper experience for both the audience and musicians and we felt this was something worth exploring. Outside of a small workshop, how can we bring a more holistic, guided listening experience to the concert hall? Breathe intends to explore this and find ways to bring audience and performer closer together to share live music making.

What should audiences expect when they come to see Breathe?

Something a little different from the usual concert hall experience. We are going to try to make the audience part of the performance, enveloping them in the sound and giving them different perspectives on the performers to make the experience more immersive. The aim is to place the listener in a comfortable space where they can really feel part of the music and also hopefully share that with the musicians during the evening.

How did you choose the music Scottish Ensemble will be performing in Breathe?

It was important to bring a wide range and diversity of voices to this, but also to really bring music that engages both listener and performer. There’s something viscerally exciting about watching musicians play music that they love and really believe in, and I also wanted to include works that have a depth of sound as their focus, to really wrap a resonance around the audience. There are works that will be familiar but also newer pieces that we will guide the audience through to make them as accessible as possible.

Breathe takes gratitude as its starting point.

What as a musician are you grateful for?

I’m sure we’re all sick of talk of the pandemic but nonetheless it did remind us of how grateful we are as musicians to have an audience. It is of course a privilege to play great music but to be able to share that and understand something of that experience is really special, Breathe gives us the opportunity to do this in a way that we can’t in a ‘normal’ concert. I’m also very grateful to be able to bring some music that I’ve wanted to play for a while now and it’s a real treat to be performing it with the Scottish Ensemble.

What is your favourite memory of playing with the Scottish Ensemble?

Still probably from our US tour a few years back, arriving after a really tiring travel day just in time to get off a coach and walk on stage in New York to a full house. We were all exhausted but there was a huge sense of camaraderie and looking around the stage there were a few tears by the encore. This is such an incredibly exciting and rewarding group to perform with and I feel so lucky to be part of this experience!

What is it about music that helps people connect?

Wow, where to start with this one?! I think it taps into something very primal within us all, there’s a shared understanding which transcends the need for words and allows us to experience and share emotions in a more vivid way than perhaps anything else can. It can transport, elate, inspire and give us access to our own thoughts and feelings in an incredibly direct way – something that we’ve witnessed first hand in our Maggie’s sessions and hopefully something that we can bring to our audiences for Breathe.

Find out more about the Breathe tour here.

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