CMS discussion group 3: education

The third weekly meeting of the Chamber Music Scotland discussion group took place on 1 March 2021, concentrating on education in classical music: Start as you mean to go on: looking at our education, from our own experiences and ideas on how things could be done differently. Is there too much focus on competition? Enough room for experimentation? Or are things…

CMS discussion group 2: creativity & self-expression

On 22 February 2021, the second weekly meeting of the Chamber Music Scotland opened by discussing amount of creativity within the work of a classical musician today. More than perhaps any other musical genre, the classical “musical work” is prescriptive, with the composer (or sometimes editor) deciding on the notes that musicians play – the pitches, rhythms, tempo, instrumentation. In…

CMS discussion group 1: reflecting values

In February I began attending an online weekly discussion group organised by Chamber Music Scotland, concentrating on the development and future of chamber music. Invited contributors are chamber musicians currently or formerly based in Scotland, including members of the CMS residency scheme, performers at various CMS events, and attendees of recent workshops such as Uchenna Ngwe’s series on diversity and…

Visiting Niel Gow’s Inver

Earlier this month, I finally had a trip to Inver and Dunkeld for a bit of a Niel Gow pilgrimage, having a peak in at Gow’s cottage (taking in fiddler Charles Macintosh’s house just around the corner!), and a ramble along the Fiddler’s Walk to see the Niel Gow oak tree, where the fiddler is said to have composed many…

Lockdown music

Lockdown has been a bit of a bugger for trying to make a living from music, but for the first time since starting my PhD back in 2014 (how can it be that long!) I’ve had the chance to focus on regular and intense violin practice. While I’m also working on a couple of book applications, playing music has really…

18th-century Scottish Country Dance workshop

My EAERN workshop earlier this month on 18th-century Scottish dances & music is now up online, available to view in full here: EAERN workshop It starts with a lecture from yours truly about the collections and our dance band project, and then from about 25 minutes we tried out a bunch of dances together. You’ll also hear some fab playing from…

Burns and the Fiddle

Last month saw the launch of a new online resource focussed on Robert Burns’s connections with 18th-century Scottish fiddle music.

‘Reviving the 18th-century dance night’

Here’s a guest blog I’ve written for the Eighteenth-Century Arts Education Research Network (EAERN) about some of my experience working with 18th-century Scottish music and dance. I led a dance workshop for the network back in May with Alison McGillivray and I’ll be back with more in October – no doubt my ceilidh band colleagues will find it amusing that…

Nathaniel Gow’s Dance Band – TDFS blog

Here’s a blog I wrote for the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland in January 2017 about recent and upcoming Nathaniel Gow’s Dance Band projects I’ve been producing with Concerto Caledonia: [original article: http://www.tracscotland.org/nathaniel-gow%E2%80%99s-dance-band%5D Scottish early music group Concerto Caledonia has recently launched the series Nathaniel Gow’s Dance Band: Ceilidh Nights, taking place in Glasgow venues Òran Mór and The Glad Cafe, January…