Mr McFall’s Chamber

Help Musicians Scotland

Describe the ensemble and its aims

Our ensemble was founded with the intention of creating a wider audience for chamber music. From the start our policy was to mix very different styles of music in the same programme, in order to give each member of the audience, whatever their musical background and tastes, some point of departure to which they could easily relate. This basic recipe has undergone many permutations over the years, but always the intention has been to stress the universality of music, to remove artificial demarcations of stylistic territory.


Performing - and commissioning - new music has plenty of challenges, but also can be very satisfying.  What is it about performing new music that keeps you excited and inspired?

Performing and commissioning new music has always been at the core of our programming. It has been exciting to be able to learn new pieces with the composer in the room; to be able to work on the music as a team, including composer as well as musicians. The process becomes more personalised, in that the composer is writing for specific players, and players are interpreting the work in a way appropriate to the personality of the composer. This process is one which we have repeated over and over – especially through our involvement in the Distil Music Project, for which we have workshopped and performed new works by eight or nine composers each year for many years now. As well as this, many of our commissions have involved the composers as players as well – have been collaborations.


What has been your most memorable performance from the last year?

My most memorable performance during the last year was probably our collaboration with Dominic Waxing Lyrical, Aberfeldy and The Jellyman's Daughter at La Belle Angele last February. There were two brand new arrangements which we performed with The Jellyman's Daughter, as well as several new arrangements of Aberfeldy and Michael Marra songs, and a whole album's worth of songs with Dominic Waxing Lyrical which we had recorded some months before. This was the CD launch.


If you could commission a new work from any historical composer in collaboration from a living artist, who would it be and why?

I'd love to see Hildegard von Bingen working in collaboration with DJ Dolphin Boy (Andy Levy), with help from another historical composer, Martin Bennett, and with a backdrop of projection put together by Lichfield-Cathedral-based multiple media artists, Lux Muralis (with whom we worked last summer at the Lichfield Festival).



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