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'Hero as a Riddle' - Martin Kershaw



Future Plans

Martin Kershaw; Photo: L De Carlo

Martin Kershaw received funding from the Scottish Art Council’s New Music fund for 'Hero as a Riddle'

The debut performances of Martin Kershaw’s new project, ‘Hero as a Riddle,’ took place over November at venues in Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh. 

Saxophonist Kershaw drew his inspiration for this original piece from the work of the Edinburgh-born artist Eduardo Paolozzi.  Following support from the Scottish Arts Council’s New Music fund, Kershaw has successfully staged the first three showcase performances of this innovative new work. 


The art which inspired Kershaw has been visually as well as aurally reflected in the performances of his new piece, through an incorporation of projected images of Paolozzi’s work.

Çommenting on the source of his inspiration, Kershaw notes: “In terms of composing the music for this project, the sheer variety and energy of Paolozzi’s art provides an unusually rich source of inspiration, and a great opportunity to produce daring, beautiful music that will, I hope, excite audience and performers alike.”

Martin Kershaw; Photo: L De Carlo

Though best known as a jazz musician, and holder of the lead alto chair of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Kershaw would hesitate to categorise 'Hero as a Riddle' as a jazz piece: "I have always been musically omnivorous. How do we define terms like 'jazz' and 'classical' anyway?  Both types of music have been through so many changes since their inception that they surely defy any meaningful definition.  They have become themselves and their opposite."


Kershaw drew together an eclectic band of professional musicians to perform his new piece. Joining Kershaw on alto saxophone, the ten-strong group incorporated members of the ensemble, Mr McFall’s Chamber, as well as trumpeter Ryan Quigley, pianist Paul Harrison, baritone saxophonist Bill Fleming, trombonist Phil O’Malley, drummer Stuart Brown, and bassist Calum Gourlay. 

Kershaw’s appreciation of the skill of his fellow musicians is obvious: “I am fortunate in having a group of performers who are completely open-minded and capable of playing anything, which is both liberating and inspiring.” 

Future Plans

Following these three successful performances, and their positive reception, Kershaw has plans to record ‘Hero as a Riddle’ in the near future, adding a further dimension to this original and involving project.     

See also
* Martin Kershaw at Thick-Skinned Productions
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