The Bridge is a new European network of string ensembles, and a three-day festival celebrating music for strings.

What is The Bridge?

Supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, The Bridge is a new collaboration between Scottish Ensemble (UK), Ensemble Resonanz (Germany), Trondheim Soloists (Norway) and PLMF Music Trust (Estonia).

Over the course of 2 years, these four forward-thinking classical music organisations from across Europe will come together to explore, share and develop ideas around artistic innovation and audience diversity in the classical music sector, as well as initiating a string ensembles network.

The Bridge will comprise both industry-focused and public events across Scotland, Germany, Norway and Estonia, before culminating in a new three-day festival of string music. Taking place in various spaces across Glasgow in May 2020, the festival will include a major new commission as well as innovative and powerful live experiences designed to showcase the string repertoire – and classical music as a whole – in an accessible, welcoming way, to as diverse an audience as possible.

The background

Scottish Ensemble, Ensemble Resonanz and Trondheim Soloists each have formidable reputations for offering new and dynamic concert experiences. They’re also united by a commitment to innovation, and a desire to develop audiences and share classical music with a more diverse group of people.

Led by these forward-thinking string ensembles and a major European music trust, The Bridge emerged from a shared belief in the importance of embracing new ways of presenting classical music and keeping this art form vibrant, relevant and growing, as well as an awareness of how ambitious and innovative smaller ensembles and organisations can be within the sector.

By establishing an industry network, each organisation will bring together its learning and experience to build a body of evidence about good practice in terms of engaging new audiences, as well as inspiring industry leaders – and a wider European public – to connect with innovative classical music making, whether through debate, exceptional performance or participation.

With the backdrop of the Brexit debate, and ongoing challenging negotiations surrounding the UK’s place in the European Union, it is essential that cultural organisations continue to nurture European ties. A shared cultural heritage is key to a shared European identity; in the face of political discord, creative projects can act as a powerful voice of social unity. In the context of The Bridge, the rich catalogue of string music that has come out of Europe represents a significant artistic tradition, and each partner organisation seeks to celebrate this repertoire and its potential to move, inspire, challenge, and stimulate audiences.

“With the UK’s imminent departure from the EU, strengthening cultural connections 
has become more important than ever. By fostering and protecting existing cross-cultural respect and understanding, and enriching our shared European musical heritage and finding ways to make it more accessible, responsive, diverse and innovative, we believe The Bridge can inspire long-term change within the classical music sector and encourage more people to enjoy the power of this shared musical tradition.

Jenny JamisonChief Executive of Scottish Ensemble

About the festival

The Bridge culminates in May 2020 with a three-day festival of string ensembles, taking place in Glasgow (UK). The festival will centre around live public performances showcasing innovative presentation of string repertoire, taking place in unusual places and spaces across the city. 

Including a major commission to be announced, the combination of programmes will celebrate the diversity, history and future of the string repertoire as well as encouraging a welcoming, accessible approach to classical music performance.  

Opportunities to get involved

At this early stage of the project, two key opportunities have arisen for arts managers and arts leaders to get involved.

The Bridge partners are currently seeking a passionate and meticulous Project Manager to lead the detailed planning and delivery of the project. This is a freelance role comprising approximately two days per week, and we are welcoming candidates from across Europe – find out more and read the full job description here.

Scottish Ensemble will also host a special networking event on Tuesday 18 December at the CCA, Glasgow. This event will allow Scottish and UK organisations the opportunity to meet and learn more about The Bridge’s international project partners, and to contribute to and learn from debates on the key questions the project seeks to address – around audience development, the importance of networks, and innovation in classical music presentation. For more information, or to sign up for this event, please email or call 0141 332 4747.

Further information

Further information on The Bridge and the three-day festival will be available in Spring 2019.

“In the free trade conditions of the EU, economic ties between countries have developed into efficient cooperation networks. Ties between organisations in the cultural field should also grow stronger and more structured. Building partnerships is a vital aspect: dynamic and self-reliant organisations need to be in dialogue with their partners in other countries in order to adapt to global trends that are impacting organisations across Europe.”  

Leelo Lehtla of the PLMF Music Trust, which supports the most talented Estonian musicians through festivals, learning opportunities, and concert tours

With the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union