Ailie Robertson and school pupil Harry Baines to write new Gaelic and Scots carols for Nevis Ensemble

Nevis Ensemble, artistically-led by Holly Mathieson and Jon Hargreaves, is delighted to announce that composers Ailie Robertson and Harry Baines will be writing new carols for the orchestra following an Open Call that received almost 200 submissions from around the world. Set to new Gaelic and Scots texts, Nevis Ensemble will record the new works alongside international mezzo-soprano and Nevis Ambassador Andrea Baker.

Mezzo soprano Andrea Baker with Nevis Ensemble

Ailie Robertson will set a new Gaelic text written especially for Nevis by Marcas Mas an Tuairneir entitled ‘An Dùbhlachd’. Ailie is a multi-award-winning Scottish composer and harpist, currently composer-in-residence at both Glyndebourne Opera and sound festival, and a regular on stages throughout Europe with her band The Outside Track. Marcas’ poetry has been short-listed for several poetry prizes including Duais Filíochta Dhúbhglas de hÍde and Comórtas Filíochta an Chornéil Eoghain Uí Néill

Balfron High School student Harry Baines will write the second carol following a competition for Scottish composers under the age of 18. Mentored by Stuart MacRae, Harry, a student of Nicholas Olsen at the Junior Conservatoire of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, will set a new Scots language text by Stuart Paterson called ‘A Blythe Yule’. This will then be part of an international project, with recordings sourced from singers and instrumentalists from across the world, including partners in Colombia, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. Stuart was BBC Scotland’s Poet in Residence from 2017-18 and won the Scots Writer o’ the Year at the 2020 Scots Language Awards.

Throughout December, Nevis will share a musical snippet each day as part of its musical Advent Calendar, a set of daily windows into the lives and activities of our musicians, our audiences and partner charities and organisations. Supported by its Nevis Family of individual givers and the William Grant Foundation, Nevis Ensemble will record the two new carols at Adelaide Place Baptist Church, Glasgow.