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Scottish Ensemble 2009

About the organisation
Project summary
Aims and objectives of the project
About the project
Outcomes and lessons learned
Contact details


Organisation Scottish Ensemble
Project Quicksilver
Artform Music
Location Glasgow
Application type -
Date October 2008 - Augsut 2009
Status Completed
Grant  £8,511
Total project cost  £12,236

About the organisation 

Versatile, enterprising and ambitious, the Scottish Ensemble is a tight-knit band of outstanding musicians from Scotland and across Europe who perform regularly together under Artistic Director, Jonathan Morton. This increasingly adventurous group has an enviable reputation for innovative commissioning and programming, performing interesting and unusual pieces alongside more well-known music. Based in Glasgow, the Scottish Ensemble tours throughout Scotland, and appears regularly at London’s Wigmore Hall, The BBC Proms, and the Edinburgh International, City of London, Aldeburgh and St Magnus Festivals. Internationally, it has toured to China, Germany and France.

Concerts and recordings are the most visible aspect of the Scottish Ensemble’s work, but its commitment to education, outreach and community work in Scotland is equally important. This work develops constantly, and includes large scale creative projects for children – many of them experiencing live performances of this kind for the first time - instrumental coaching and masterclasses, and professional development seminars for workplaces.

Project summary 

An afternoon concert for families and a workshop for young people aged 7+ with percussionist, Colin Currie, alongside pre and post concert online interpretative resources.

Aims and objectives of the project 

The project specifically targeted families with children in Glasgow and the wider community.  If successful, it will form the basis for further development both within Glasgow and the remaining cities where we regularly perform in Scotland.

In part, the initial impetus to change the timing of a Scottish Ensemble performance in Glasgow was a response to the existing classical music provision in the city, where there is at least one classical music performance each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening throughout the year.
In offering an alternative time for the performance, we hoped to create an opportunity for broadening our  audience base within the city and complement current music provision within City Halls. 

The project also acted as an introduction to a ‘regular’ classical music concert for young people.  The format and programme was not specifically adapted for a younger audience but was one that we felt would appeal to families. 

About the project 

The project sat within the Ensemble’s ongoing exploration of widening access to our work and was a development of our current strategy and direction.  The pilot was for one concert only in the Season. 

The project created an opportunity for families and their children to experience a classical music concert with the outstanding percussionist, Colin Currie.  The concert was part of the Scottish Ensemble Season 08-09 and took place at City Halls, Glasgow on Sunday 8 February 2009. The performance followed our usual concert format.  However, after hearing the first half of the  concert, young people had the opportunity to participate in a percussion workshop with Colin Currie and Ian Sandilands with support from final year Community Music students from RSAMD.  The workshop was based upon the music that they heard during the first half of the concert.  The workshop was open to young people aged 7+ and catered for both musicians and non-musicians. 

In addition to the concert and workshop, we provided pre concert online resources, offering pathways into the performance for the audience.  This took the form of a podcast by Colin Currie and our Artistic Director, Jonathan Morton, introducing the concert and the music performed, focussing on the commission, which was posted on our website and also featured on MySpace, Facebook and YouTube.  The podcast was specifically aimed at young people and their carers. 

The pilot project for a Sunday afternoon performance prioritised families and their children evolved from our discussions with our existing attenders, stakeholders and partners. 

The project allowed us to develop the use of our web based marketing activity as a means of broadening our existing audience base whilst retaining and developing our existing audiences.

Outcomes and lessons learned 

The response from both parents and young people was very positive and as a result the project will be incorporated into our performance programme as appropriate.  Our partnership with GGA has worked well and our partnership with City Halls has also developed. We did not anticipate problems with our website, but the entire site crashed several times and had to be re-built together with the database which populated the various pages.  This has led us to re-consider our current website more fully and we are now planning a complete re-design which will give us complete functionality and management control.  This has also led to a re-design of the online resources which were to accompany the project and these will be adapted to relate to both workshops.

The podcasts with Colin Currie worked very well.  We produced two podcast specifically for this project: the first showed Colin building the marimba and the second focussed on the musical elements that would be explored in the workshop and concert.  This has extended the profile of the Ensemble and its work in this area.

In our initial application, we had planned for workshops catering for up to 70 young people.  However, during the course of our discussions with the various partners involved it became clear that this would be unwieldy given the length of the workshop and also the spaces available within City Halls.  The final workshop figure was 45, which was more realistic and workable.  The age and musical ability range was large with both musicians and non musicians attending which made planning quite difficult.  Future workshops will therefore focus on young people who have some musical ability, playing at school and nursery and we will ensure that we have sufficient information in advance of the concert to allocate children to an appropriate workshop.

Contact details 

Caroline Thompson
Press & Marketing Manager
Scottish Ensemble
350 Sauchiehall Street
G2 3JD
Tel:  0141 332 4747
E-mail:  caroline.thompson@scottishensemble.co.uk
Web: www.scottishensemble.co.uk  

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