Scottish Creations Tour Blog: Aberdeen & Dundee

On-the-road updates from staff and musicians on our Scottish Creations tour.

31 May 2022


Members of Scottish Ensemble backstage with instruments at Aberdeen Music Hall
Backstage at Aberdeen Music Hall

Preparing for our penultimate concert in Aberdeen (above). A joy to be playing on the floor of the Music Hall, a fabulous space and acoustic. Alastair’s violin and Ailie’s clarsach sounded glorious in the second set!

Aberdeen Performing Arts Youth Company performed in our interval. Zoe(on the left, Scottish Ensemble violinist Cheryl’s niece!) and Eve came together to perform live in front of a film that they had created during lockdown, when they couldn’t perform in public or together. An engaging and uplifting event!

“The Language of Trees” by Ruth Simpson has been one of my favourite works in our travelling art exhibition. It was a treat to meet Ruth, a nurse who paints, on the steps of the Aberdeen Music Hall.

L-R: Anne, SE violinist Gongbo Jiang, Luca, SE violinist Alastair Savage, Coralie and SE violinist Aaron McGregor.

Huge thanks to our community guests above, for joining in so wholeheartedly with our second half folk session. Anne read the “Iona Boat Song” words beautifully in Gaelic to begin Alastair Savage’s fantastic journey of a set. Luca and Coralie joined in with all the violinists, Luca embracing two solo tune opportunities, with great confidence and panache. Luca has been following the Scottish Ensemble since he was very young, it was a huge pleasure and privilege for us to have him join in!

Liza Johnson, Violin


Thumbs up from musicians backstage in Dundee
Players backstage before the concert in Dundee

Touring is a funny business. It’s exhilarating, it’s exhausting. After days away and hundreds of miles traveled, the last gig of our Scottish Creations tour would either feel like a dream, or the final hurdle…

Sunday night in Dundee was a dream. The warmth of the audience, combined with the many wonderful musicians who came to join us in the second half (for our largest folk session of the trip!) made this a very special final concert of the tour. 

I’ve felt really lucky to be a part of bringing Ailie’s piece Archetypes to life for the first time. As well as the musicians on stage, and Ailie herself, each audience and each venue on this tour has been part of the shaping process, every concert informing the nuances of the next. Whenever Scottish Ensemble performs all or part of Archetypes again, a scent of all the people involved, and all the places we visited, will remain. 

This links neatly to a sad side of tours – especially ones like this that combine fantastic music, great playing, and a frankly delightful group of people – which is that there’s often no real record of them once they’ve ended. It’s brilliant then, that this tour is being recorded in short and long term ways. I’ll look forward to watching the film and documentary that Gavin and Lewis from Daysix have been busy putting together. It’s also nice to know that, until Friday 3rd June, the traveling art exhibition that’s come with us around Scotland is installed at the McManus Gallery in Dundee. It’s a wonderful and wide ranging curation of art forms with lots of works that I’ve loved seeing at each venue on this tour. However, there’s a particular felt needling piece of a cat on a donkey, that makes me smile when I think that people have a few more days to enjoy it, even whilst the musicians from the tour have scattered to their next projects.

Kate Suthers, violin

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