Nevis Ensemble announces 11 new commissions and world-wide Auld Lang Syne.

Artistically-led by Holly Mathieson and Jon Hargreaves, Nevis Ensemble will commission 11 composers to write new works as part of its online activity whilst live orchestral performances are unable to take place. 

Tying in with the Scottish Government’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, the orchestra has commissioned 10 composers to write musical shorts for solo instruments for its Lochan* Sketches project. Each composer will be partnered with a member of the public or one of Nevis’ community partners, who will give photos, paintings, poems or memories relating to the lochs, rivers, seas and islands of Scotland, providing the inspiration for the new music.

Members of Nevis Ensemble will record and premiere the works online, and subsequently live when performances resume. Written for solo instruments, the project will include works for violin, viola, cello, flute, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, and drum kit.

The 10 composers are: Robert Reid Allan; Harry Gorski-Brown; Rylan Gleave; Fergus Hall; Sarah Lianne Lewis; Huan Li; Suzanne Parry; Alex Paxton; Lisa Robertson; Angela Slater.

Suzanne Parry, one of the selected composers, said: “In such a bleak time for creatives across the world, this commission is a precious gift of hope. To be invited into new network of artists is always an exciting moment, but in a time when we are all so isolated it feels nothing short of magical.”

Robert Reid Allan said: “I’m over the moon to be taking part in this project. I’ve been an admirer Nevis Ensemble’s ambition and vision for a radically different kind of music making for some time now, and I can’t wait to be involved!”

A further artist, London-based British-Chinese composer Alex Ho has been commissioned to write a new work premiering in late summer 2020, involving members of the orchestra as well as the general public as part of the Nevis Living Room Ensemble project.

Following on from the first Living Room Ensemble project, where 160 musicians from 15 nations submitted recordings of The Proclaimer’s classic song 500 Miles, Nevis has also just launched its second project inviting the public to submit recordings of Scotland’s signature song, Auld Lang Syne.

With an aim to have someone from every country in the world represented, everyone can get involved and there are resources on the Nevis Ensemble website, including tips for recording, instrumental parts for beginners to advanced, song sheets and SATB parts for singers, a pronunciation guide, and translations of the text into dozens of languages.

Submissions are welcome until 31 May 2020, and full details are on the Nevis Ensemble website.

Nevis Ensemble’s Artistic Directors Holly and Jon said: “We’re hoping to connect people in every country in the world in a rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – we can’t join hands, but at least we can join in! Meanwhile, we’re also underway with Lochan Sketches. For that project we’re trying to make a direct connection between our audiences and new music.”

*lochan – Gaelic for ‘small loch’