13 December 2023
In 2020, Scottish Ensemble was awarded one of five Audience Fund grants from the Royal Philharmonic Society, an exceptional opportunity initiated and supported by the Rachel Baker Memorial Charity. This fund was designed to support organisations to connect with audiences in new ways. Below, we reflect on what it has meant for our organisation to have this endorsement and resource at a crucial time in our digital development.
At Scottish Ensemble, we are renowned for our commitment to pushing the boundaries of classical music. In recent years, across our digital work we’ve championed a bold, new filmic language that aims to add a punch of vitality into how classical music is expressed on screen. In our opinion, trying to replicate the feeling of a full live performance on screen is almost impossible (without huge resources!), so our approach has been to create new types of artistic content – music videos, personal stories, and up-close intense dives into specific pieces of repertoire – to embrace the possibilities and intimacy of digital media. With the generous support of the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Audience Fund and the Rachel Baker Memorial Charity, our journey has taken an exhilarating turn, propelling us into a new era of digital creativity.
The RPS Audience Fund has played an instrumental role in broadening our reach and impact and allowing us to share our experimental work with global audiences; breaking down barriers that have historically separated us from potential enthusiasts. It has provided us with the inspiration to rethink and reimagine how classical music is presented on film.
Alongside our partners and collaborators, the confidence that came from receiving the RPS Audience Fund grant has sparked the conversations that brought the following projects to your screens:
- Travelling Dreams: a cinematic journey set to Phillip Glass’s Symphony No. 3. Filmed during the pandemic, this was a blockbuster-scale project for us, complete with visual effects and spectacular post-production work. Now affectionately known by our loyal audiences as ‘the train film’ transports you, quite literally, to another visual world and brings the urban pulse of Philip Glass to life.
- these bones, this flesh, this skin: a cross-artform collaborative project that explored the intersectionality of music and storytelling through dance. In this project the viewer could choose their own experience – layering music and visuals to create up to 21 different iterations of the same project, and allowing people to feel part of the creation.
- Reveal: a multi-sensory collaboration between music and visual art exhibited at Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery that unveiled the passing of time via a time-lapse video.
- Scottish Creations: six short films that presented an intimate view into what inspires creative people across Scotland, from all walks of life.
- The Bridge: a mini-documentary and film about our festival that celebrated contemporary approaches to classical music making.
- Touring as a Musician: behind-the-scenes footage of SE musicians touring Goldberg Variations to the Netherlands exclusively via rail and public transport.
- Artistic recordings of our live performances: that transported viewers to our concert halls, capturing the impact of live music experiences.
We have also been working on two music videos with Forest of Black productions. Anna Meredith’s ‘Tull’ was released on November 17, 2023, and our next filmic experience will be released in early 2024.
Since 2020, we have been on a journey to bring to you our dedication to presenting classical music in unconventional ways and to creating innovative digital experiences. With the RPS Audience Fund, we have been able to spark curiosity and initiate meaningful conversations with our audiences. We are profoundly grateful to RPS and Rachel Baker Memorial Charity for their generous support, which has been tantamount to our ability to bring our artistic ideas to life. We look forward to continuing our ambitious mission of reimagining classical music in the digital age, and to sharing this journey with you.
We invite you to explore these projects via our website and YouTube channel. Stay updated on our upcoming digital initiatives by joining our mailing list here.