Songs from Above and Below – John McLeod, Emily Mitchell and Geoffrey Tanti – Live Music Now – Shortlisted in Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Award for Community / Education Project

  1. How did the project come about?

The project came about through Live Music Now Scotland’s highly successful Composing. With Care model of commissioning new music and colleagues in Live Music Now south of the border keen to work on a joint project using this model. At the same time, there was opportunity to apply for funding support to The Baring Foundation’s ‘Late Style’ Artists Commission Series initiative.

2.     What made this project special?

So many things made the project special.  It was an unique cross border project, involving Live Music Now Scotland and Live Music Now Wales, with young professional musicians gathering material, through music and dialogue, from residents in care homes and day centres for people with dementia in West Lothian and Merthyr Tydfil about their shared mining heritage.  This material formed the basis of John McLeod’s new suite, Songs from Above and Below, which was premiered in the care homes and day centres which inspired the music, as well as being heard in public venues and festivals too.  It’s also the first, and only, score, to have been personally dedicated to me, which is very special.

3.     What other projects do you have on the go at the moment?

We have two Composing with Care initiatives on the go at the moment.  One is Mills, Memories and Music as part of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, with the score being composed by Savourna Stevenson using material gathered by Live Music Now musicians performing in care homes and centres in Renfrewshire.  The other , Reel Folk, is a three-way partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland, Festival and King’s Theatre Edinburgh and Live Music Now Scotland, bringing the people in the portraits and theatre memorabilia to life through art experts and music, with the resulting new piece being composed by Ailie Robertson

  1.    Who are the upcoming Scottish composers to watch?

Live Music Now Scotland runs an annual composition prize in collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and each year sees yet more fantastic compositional talent emerge from the composition department there.  They are all upcoming composers to watch!

5.     What is the project that you would most like to do?  The Dream Project…?

A project that brings composers and artists together to work really closely and collaboratively on new music with a view to giving Live Music Now’s emerging artists professional recording experience as well as the extensive performing experience offered by Live Music Now and bringing music of our time to people throughout Scotland’s communities who would otherwise not have the opportunity to listen to it.


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