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Scottish Ensemble’s Breathe: A Guided Concert


Scottish Ensemble are proud to present Breathe, a guided, deep listening event providing audiences with a release, an escape, and a new and unusual classical music experience.

Touring to Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee between 25-28 October, Breathe puts audiences up close with Scottish Ensemble musicians as both groups explore how they feel when in a live concert.

This focused, intimate, and mindful listening experience comes off the back of Scottish Ensemble’s long-standing collaboration with Maggie’s Centres, a charity which supports people dealing with cancer. Together they have developed sessions that promote a different way of listening, including listening more deeply and looking at how mindfulness techniques can help to channel the power of music and alleviate pain and anxiety.

The programme, which features music by Beethoven, Caroline Shaw, Daniel Kidane, Donald Grant and more, is designed to take people through a mixture of emotions, moods and feelings and explore the ways in which an audience’s presence and reactions influence the nature of a performance. Led by Guest Director Tristan Gurney, and conceived and curated by Scottish Ensemble viola player Andrew Berridge, the performers will move in between and during pieces, to enable the audience to get different perspectives on the sound. Live music is and always has been a collaborative, shared experience, and so Breathe is designed to help audiences understand how the performers are feeling and how their performance can be influenced by the interaction with an audience.

Scottish Ensemble violist Andrew Berridge has curated the concert and will guide audiences through it as the performance travels through intricate and contrasting music written for strings. Designed to calm overactive minds and help people experiment with what feels comfortable and uncomfortable, live feedback from the audience plays an integral role in the experience, as they will be asked for their thoughts at several points during the performance, and see how hearing other people’s experiences changes how they listen, and changes the musician’s perspectives too.

Audiences will get a real understanding of the buzz performers get when playing to a crowd and, rather than just communicating through a final bow, performers will spend time meeting the audience after the performance too. Scottish Ensemble always aim for intimate and intense performances – Breathe is set to maximise that atmosphere and celebrate the power of live music.

Breathe is part of a wider series of work by Scottish Ensemble which also features the soon-to-be-released Breathe for Schools, a bite-sized video series to be enjoyed by teachers and their classes across Scotland and beyond to help carve out a few moments for reflection and calm in a busy school day. Alongside collaborators from Maggie’s they have delivered some training for school teachers to explore how they can use music in classrooms for wellbeing purposes, and are now developing similar formats that combine live performance and discussion into their work in schools.

Guest Curator and Scottish Ensemble violist Andrew Berridge said: “During the last few years we’ve been expanding our work with Maggie’s cancer support centres, taking live performances to small mindfulness groups and using music both as a tool for therapy and to provoke a conversation about how it can make us feel on a fundamental level. These sessions have been so richly rewarding for both our musicians and the participants that we wanted to bring this experience to the concert hall, to share our gratitude for the unique energy that live performance brings. Breathe is a blend of meditative listening techniques and an exploration of how we can let the music in more fully; relishing texture and resonance while the Ensemble literally surrounds the audience with music.”

Tickets are available from https://scottishensemble.co.uk/programme/2022-23/breathe-2022/

Ed Baker
Ed Baker
Ed keeps the local news going at Edinburgh Magazine. To submit content that qualifies for free publication, or to enquire about guest posts & press releases, get in touch at Firefly Magazines.

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