Lanark Sessions

In partnership with Border Biscuits, Nevis musicians Heidi van der Swaagh (cello) and Lyle Dear (percussion), and singer-songwriter Claire Hastings will work with the local community in Lanark on two projects in 2020.

The first is an intergenerational project between young children from Lanark Primary School and older people resident in St Catherine’s Care Home. Each week the musicians will visit to deliver music sessions with the aim of writing new songs based on the local area’s heritage, which the children and older people will sing together as part of an intergenerational choir.

These new songs will be arranged for the full Nevis Ensemble and performed by the singers and full orchestra as part of Nevis’ tour on 8 May 2020 with a performance at FlowerFest.

The second strand of the project will see the musicians work with looked after children over 10 weeks. The participants will work on song-writing skills, create new music that they will perform alongside the full Nevis Ensemble in June 2020.

Heidi van der Swaagh

British-American cellist, Heidi van der Swaagh, is a multi-faceted musician with a rich experience in music education, chamber music, and orchestral playing. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Heidi’s primary teachers were Alison Wells and Alan Stepansky. She is an advocate for music as a means for social change and community engagement. Heidi has been principal cellist of the Nevis Ensemble since its first tour, participating in over 190 performances across Scotland. An advocate for music education, Heidi has been actively involved with several El Sistema programmes, including Baltimore’s OrchKids and now Scotland’s Big Noise. Furthermore, she teaches at the RCS Early Years, the RCS Junior Conservatoire at Dumfries House, and the whole-class string project in East Ayrshire primary schools, as part of the Youth Music Initiative.

An avid chamber musician, Heidi is a founding member of the Knokkos Trio, which was awarded first place in the 2018 Dunbar-Gerber Prize for Chamber Music. She also performed in a string quartet that won the 2018 Mabel Glover String Quartet Competition. As an orchestral musician, Heidi has performed with the York Symphony Orchestra, the Haydn Chamber Orchestra, the Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Bayerische Philharmonie. During her time at the RCS, Heidi was selected for side-by-side young artist schemes with the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ensemble, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Heidi is the Interim Chair of the Board of Directors at Givin’ It Laldie, an organisation dedicated to music engagement in Gorbals.

Lyle Dear

Claire Hastings

Claire Hastings is a Scottish folksinger, songwriter and ukulele player based in Glasgow. In 2015 she earned the prestigious title of BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year, and has since delighted audiences at home and abroad with her ‘natural, effortless Scots voice.’ (FRUK)

​A graduate of the Scottish Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Claire specialised in Scots Song with expert tuition from Gordeanna McCulloch (The Clutha) and Rod Paterson (Jock Tamson’s Bairns). Since graduating, Claire has toured successfully in the UK, Europe and New Zealand, and has performed at international festivals including Festival Interceltique de Lorient and Celtic Connections. 

As well as performing, Claire has also been involved with several teaching projects throughout Scotland including Feis Rois’ Youth Music Initiative, The Gaitherin (Aberdeenshire) and Feis an Iar Dheas (Dumfries). Claire is particularly passionate about her work with Live Music Now Scotland; a charity based organisation which brings live music to a range of audiences in community settings.