National Young Composers’ competition returns for 2015:16

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Notes From Scotland, a competition for 12-18 year olds, this year in partnership with the Festival of Architecture
Scotland’s national orchestra is running the second composition competition specifically for 12-18 year olds based in Scotland. In partnership with the Festival of Architecture 2016, Notes From Scotland invites young composers to write a two-minute work for an instrumental trio, quartet or quintet.
The theme for the second Notes From Scotland is inspired by Scotland’s contemporary architecture; Maggie’s Highlands; Pier Arts Centre, Orkney; The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh; Shettleston Housing Association, Glasgow, and Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre. From the entries five finalists will be selected by an expert panel with their compositions being performed and recorded by members of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) at the Orchestra’s new home, adjacent to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. The winner will be announced following the performance and will receive an iPad loaded with music software packages, as well as VIP access to RSNO concerts.
Throughout February and March 2016 award-winning Scottish composer Stuart MacRae will be hosting workshops for entrants at each of the inspiring buildings across Scotland (DCA: 13th February 2016 am; Shettleston Housing Association: 13th February 2016 pm; Pier Arts Centre: 20th February 2016; The Scottish Parliament: 27th February 2016; Maggie’s Highlands: 5th March 2016) The participants will be given tours of the sites before receiving an introductory guide to composing to a theme. Dates for each of the workshops, submission information and sign-up for the newsletter can be found on the competition site: The workshops are free, but places need to be reserved by contacting the RSNO’s Learning and Engagement team on 0141 225 3557 or email
This is a rare opportunity for entrants to obtain feedback on their music from some of Scotland's eminent composers.
Entrants do not have to attend the workshops to enter the competition. The Notes From Scotland website includes video resources featuring introductions to each of the properties across Scotland and insight and advice from some of the country’s greatest living composers.
BAFTA, GRAMMY and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Craig Armstrong OBE, famed for his soundtracks to blockbusters such as Moulin Rouge!, Love Actually and The Great Gatsby, welcomed the initiative: “This is a fantastic idea to engage young people in composition and to bring them together with existing composers and musicians to pass on their knowledge and skills. I’m sure it will be an invaluable experience for all concerned.”
Full details on the competition and how to enter can be found at Closing date for entries is Tuesday 31 May 2016.

Owen and Olly’s Christmas Stocking

Children’s Classic Concerts and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra will be packing a bumper selection of musical treats into a fabulously festive stocking in Glasgow and Edinburgh this December

Children's Classic Concerts presenters Owen and Olly

Children's Classic Concerts presenters, Owen and Olly

Saturday 5th December 2015, 1.00pm and 3.00pm, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Sunday 6th December 2015, 3.00pm, Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Children’s Classic Concerts’ popular percussionist presenters Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox have drawn up a wish list for Santa that includes a miniature performance of Delibes’s toyshop-based ballet Coppélia, a trip to the movies with Woody and Buzz, a Frozen adventure and a madcap dash down the ski slopes with audience participation.  Making Christmas wishes come true will be the magnificent RSNO under the baton of RSNO Associate Conductor Jean-Claude Picard, the Manor School of Ballet and six Area Choirs from the National Youth Choir of Scotland.
Children’s Classic Concerts presenter Owen Gunnell:
“We think we have packed this stocking with something for everyone, but personally I love a bit of ballet at Christmas and I can’t wait to narrate the story of Coppélia with Olly.  We are even getting involved in another bit of dancing later in the concert - I don’t want to reveal too much but a certain very popular snowman will be involved.”
Also featuring in Owen and Olly’s Christmas Stocking will be timeless seasonal classics Troika by Prokofiev, the Little Drummer Boy carol complete with percussion from Owen and Olly and a sing-along version of Jingle Bells.
Children’s Classic Concerts presenter Oliver Cox:
As always at our concerts there will be lots of chances for the audience to get up on their feet and join in.  And as well as dashing about Owen and I will also be doing a bit of playing – we have a lovely medley of Christmas tunes to perform as well as a chance to get the drums out – something that I am always up for. ”
Jean-Claude Picard and the RSNO will also perform the Orchestral Suite from Frozen and Rossini’s William Tell will provide a high-energy finale.
Owen and Olly’s Christmas Stocking
Saturday 5th December 2015, 1.00pm and 3.00pm, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Sunday 6th December 2015, 3.00pm, Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Conducted by Jean-Claude Picard
Presented and performed by Owen Gunnell and Oliver Cox
The Manor School of Ballet
Members of the National Youth Choir of Scotland Area Choirs from:
NYCoS Stirling, NYCoS Renfrewshire, NYCoS West Lothian (Glasgow)
NYCoS  Falkirk, NYCoS Edinburgh, NYCoS Midlothian (Edinburgh)
Children’s Classic Concerts’ Owen and Olly’s Christmas Stocking will appear at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 5 December at 1.00pm and 3.00pm and at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Sunday 6 December at 3.00pm. Tickets are priced from £6 and are available to buy from Glasgow Royal Concert Hall box office (0141 353 8000) or Usher Hall box office (0131 228 1155). For more information go to
Sponsored by La Bonne Auberge; supported by Creative Scotland


We live in a magnificent world in which it is our natural assumption that we may freely congregate in order to celebrate the wonder and magic of man's creativity on evenings such as this.
The events last night in Paris are a vivid reminder that mankind is also capable of acts of horrifying atrocity. The music we play stands in contrast to such inhumane violence and reminds of the heights to which we can all rise together. We would like to dedicate tonight's performance to the victims of last night's tragedy.
I would ask that following the Webern Langsamer Satz , a love song to all humankind, that we remain silent, contemplate, and hold any applause. From that moment on let us experience defiantly and whole-heartedly the beauty and joy of great music while we celebrate the idea that good will always prevail over evil.

World class music venue opens in Glasgow

Scotland’s national orchestra’s new centre unveiled following successful first performances

Welcome to our new home. (From left to right) RSNO Director of Finance and Corporate Services Kenneth Osborne; Creative Scotland Deputy Chief Executive Officer Iain Munro; Chair of Glasgow Life Cllr Archie Graham OBE; Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop; RSNO Chief Executive Krishna Thiagarajan; Creative Scotland Head of Music Ian Smith; RSNO Campaign Board Chair Peter Shakeshaft

Welcome to our new home. (From left to right) RSNO Director of Finance and Corporate Services Kenneth Osborne; Creative Scotland Deputy Chief Executive Iain Munro; Chair of Glasgow Life Cllr Archie Graham OBE; Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop; RSNO Chief Executive Krishna Thiagarajan; Creative Scotland Head of Music Ian Smith; RSNO Campaign Board Chair Peter Shakeshaft

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has relocated to its new, purpose-built facility in Glasgow’s City Centre.
The construction of a new purpose-built rehearsal and recording facility for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) and a new 600 seat music venue for Glasgow was completed in October. Designed by Glasgow City Council’s in-house team of architects and led by Kerr Robertson, who was responsible for city projects such as the refurbishment of much lauded Glasgow’s City Halls, and world-renowned acoustic specialists ARUP, the new home for Scotland’s national symphony orchestra now provides a “world class” venue for the Orchestra, increased scope and flexibility for the organisation’s education and learning programmes, and a new mid-sized auditorium for the city’s music programme.
The new auditorium at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, adjacent to the RSNO Centre, exhibits a number of design features implemented to optimise the acoustic qualities of the venue, for both rehearsal and performance situations.  Fixed sound absorption is distributed throughout the hall, controlling excessive loudness but also reduces reverberance. The large scale (e.g. risers, ceiling and upper wall elements) and small scale (e.g. lower side walls) articulation throughout the hall scatters sound at different frequencies, providing an even sound and avoiding harsh reflections.
In rehearsal mode and full orchestral performance mode the side balconies fold up against the walls, realising the maximum available hall volume and floor space for the Orchestra. For recitals the balconies are deployed, narrowing the room, providing desirable lateral sound reflections to listeners, increasing acoustical intimacy and clarity. They also increase theatricality and visual intimacy, with the audience wrapped around the performers, and can be used artistically for camera positions, video screens and surround sound loudspeakers.
Adjustable acoustic banners vary the sound absorption in the space, depending on the use and repertoire. Fully retracting the banners results in maximum reverberance (and loudness), ideal for chamber recitals. Partially deployed banners controls the loudness, for instance in orchestral rehearsal situations, while retaining suitable reverberance. For amplified music a well-controlled acoustic is necessary, free from echoes, which is achieved by exposing the maximum banner area.
Overhead reflectors, also adjustable, provide useful reflections to support self and mutual hearing for musicians. Reflections from the ceiling – which needs to be high to provide the volume necessary for reverberance without excessive loudness - arrive too late and too weak for early support and timing. In addition to their benefit to the Orchestra, the reflectors also provide useful reflections to the audience in performance mode. Their heights can be adjusted to suit the use/repertoire.
The construction has been supported with funding from Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, corporate sponsors, trusts and foundations, individual donors, and Glasgow City Council, as the new auditorium will be a shared, joint use facility managed by Glasgow Life.
Plans for the new wing include the instillation of dedicated state-of-the-art learning and education facilities, with flexible sensory areas, and integrated digital technologies for recording, composing, broadcasting music, and connecting with communities across Scotland and further afield.
The Orchestra’s new home is also equipped with enhanced foyer spaces for audiences and visitors, a music library for the Orchestra’s extensive archive that will ensure access to scores for research, practice and performance, private practice and small ensemble rehearsal rooms, and administrative and technical offices for the Orchestra including stores for its equipment.
High on the list of priorities during the planning and construction of the new building were defining the best possible ecological credentials. From opting for a brownfield site to selecting state-of-the-art lighting system (supplied by AC Lighting) which runs off a fraction of the power of current used by concert lighting configurations, the new centre can boast one of the best green ratings of any rehearsal concert venue in the UK.
RSNO Chief Executive Dr Krishna Thiagarajan:
“The new home is truly a world class facility for Scotland's National Orchestra, to efficiently and effectively build its reputation and increase its capacity to connect with communities across Scotland and the entire music loving world. To accomplish this, we ran an extremely successful campaign and we are grateful to our RSNO patrons, our corporate and foundation supporters as well as Creative Scotland, Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to make this project a reality. Together we have delivered a bespoke rehearsal and recording space, exceptional education and learning facilities and a valuable recital venue, providing a key addition to the country’s cultural venues.”
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop:
"Five years ago, when I visited the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s rehearsal space in Henry Wood Hall, I made a commitment to the orchestra musicians that I would do what I could as Cabinet Secretary to help ensure they could move to a building fit for their talent and needs. With support from the Scottish Government, and from partners and donors, that commitment has been realised.
“The RSNO must be commended for its outstanding work in producing engaging learning programmes which have drawn in more than 270, 000 people locally, nationally and internationally. This new state-of-the-art operational base will allow the RSNO to go even further thanks to a world class rehearsal space and new digital connectivity. The building also provides Glasgow with a purpose-built music venue to enhance the city’s reputation as UNESCO City of Music.”
Councillor Archie Graham, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life:
“Glasgow is a fantastic city for music lovers, for residents and visitors. In the 25th anniversary year of Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, the New Auditorium marks a new chapter in the history of this much loved venue and will help us continue to build on our cultural heritage.
“Working with partners we are creating opportunities for even more people to enjoy and play a integral part in the cultural life of the city – a commitment we are passionate about.
“Audiences are now enjoying a range of outstanding performances in the New Auditorium. With fun children’s shows this December and Celtic Connection concerts in January among those to come, we can all look forwards to many great creative opportunities in the future.”
Iain Munro, Deputy Chief Executive at Creative Scotland:
“This is an incredibly exciting move for the RSNO that will further enhance their reputation as a world renowned orchestra.  The outstanding rehearsal space will help to attract and retain high quality musicians, conductors and soloists; the intimate concert space will engage and inspire audiences and the state-of-the-art education and learning spaces will help to foster future generations of talented musicians. Creative Scotland is proud to be supporting this world class music facility and I’m very much looking forward to enjoying and engaging with the orchestra in their new home.”