Ear to the Ground Scotland
Stuart MacRae: Ursa Minor

Stuart MacRae: Ursa Minor

April 20, 2022

Born in Inverness in 1976, Stuart MacRae has established himself as one of the most distinctive of contemporary composers. Stuart’s music has been performed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival, by ensembles including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble and London Sinfonietta. Often inspired by aspects of natural landscape, Stuarts music draws on various strands of European modernism including the music of Stravinsky, Carter, Xenakis and most significantly, Maxwell Davies.

 

I am Prometheus

Ursa Minor

Cladonia bellidiflora

Dark Liquid

With special thanks to performers:

Hebrides Ensemble

 

Ear to the Ground keeps you in the loop with interviews and gig alerts from Scotland’s top-notch composers.

Hosted by Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames.

Sound edited by Mia Eames.

Website Links:

https://www.eartothegroundscotland.com/

https://stuartmacrae.com

 
Rūta Vitkauskaitė: Konnakol, Canntaireach and Collaborative Composing

Rūta Vitkauskaitė: Konnakol, Canntaireach and Collaborative Composing

February 16, 2022

Rūta Vitkauskaitė is a composer, performer and curator whose work in music crosses
conventional boundaries. She studied at the Lithuanian Academy of Music before moving to
London to complete her PhD at The Royal Academy of Music. Her music has been described as
'resembling natural forces - seemingly unorganised and chaotic forces sticking together a highly dynamic, vital and unpredictable whole, always generating an active emotion'.

While living in the UK, Rūta has developed an interest in music education and is currently initiator of CoMA, Contemporary Music for All, Glasgow branch.

 

Daina apie medį, upę, jūrą ir žemę (Song about the tree, river, sea and earth)

Chrysalis
Lithuanian National Orchestra and Jude Carlton

Canntaireachd
Joanna Nicholson (Bass Clarinet) - Part of Modern Chants Project

 

Ear to the Ground keeps you in the loop with interviews and gig alerts from Scotland’s top-notch composers.

Hosted by Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames.

Sound edited by Mia Eames.

Website Links:

https://www.eartothegroundscotland.com/

https://rutavitkauskaite.weebly.com/

 
Janet Beat: Pioneering Knob Twiddler

Janet Beat: Pioneering Knob Twiddler

January 19, 2022

Janet Beat is a composer living in Scotland whose impressive career spans back to the late 1950’s. She is widely considered to be a pioneer of electronic music in Britain and in 2019, Janet was the first person to be awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Scottish Women Inventing Music, a collection of music creators and industry professionals pushing for gender equality in the music industry. Now at 83, her music has been officially released for the first time with her debut album “Pioneering Knob Twiddler”.

 

Dancing on Moonbeams

Lighthouses Waltz

Echoes from Bali

A Willow Swept by Rain

Piangam

 

Ear to the Ground keeps you in the loop with interviews and gig alerts from Scotland’s top-notch composers.

Hosted by Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames.

Sound edited by Mia Eames.

Website Links:

https://www.eartothegroundscotland.com/

 

 

 

Rufus Isabel Elliot: Voices, Feelings and Unspoken Words

Rufus Isabel Elliot: Voices, Feelings and Unspoken Words

October 20, 2021

In this episode we caught up with Rufus Isabel Elliot who told us about OVER/AT, a trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse music-making world, as well as telling us about upcoming releases of Rufus's own music.

Rufus is a composer and musician from Tower Hamlets, based now near Gairloch. In the last couple of years, Rufus has worked with the likes of Sound Festival Scotland, Red Note Ensemble, Magnetic North, and the Nevis Ensemble, with whom it was composer-in-residence in 2019. Current projects include a new album with composer/violinist Harry Gorski-Brown, and a new longer-form vocal piece with Scots traditional singer Josie Vallely.

Rufus produces OVER / AT, which encompasses live touring projects, recording projects, workshops, online learning resources, and more. The first OVER / AT E.P. was released in March – FOLKS' SONGS, and OVER / AT #1 was shortlisted for a Scottish Award for New Music.

With special thanks to performers:

Are We?
Malin Lewis

PASS
Harry Gorski-Brown

Achilles Lyre
Andrew Herrington

Ear to the Ground keeps you in the loop with interviews and gig alerts from Scotland’s top-notch composers.

Hosted by Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames.

Sound edited by Mia Eames.

Website Links:

https://www.ambf.co.uk/

https://www.ambf.co.uk/over-at

https://www.eartothegroundscotland.com/

 
Matthew Whiteside: On Doing It Yourself

Matthew Whiteside: On Doing It Yourself

September 18, 2021

In this episode we chat to composer, collaborator, sound designer and concert producer Matthew Whiteside.

As a composer, Matthew has received international performances by ensembles and performers such as the RTÉ NSO, Red Note Ensemble, the Aurea QuartetPauline Kim Harris and Diagenesis Duo at venues such as New York University, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Glasgow City Halls, Salem Artworks in New York and the Belfast International Festival at Queen’s.

Most recently Matthew's piece Night Thoughts was shortlisted for a Scottish New Music Award 2021 for Large Ensemble (Sponsored by PRS).

As well as being a composer, Matthew is also founder and programme of the The Night With... a concert series featuring interesting music in informal spaces. In 2020 The Night With... won the SMIA Award for Creative Programming at the Scottish Awards for New Music as well as winning the Award for Recording of New Music at the awards in 2021 for The Night With... Live Vol. One album.

With special thanks to performers:

Night Thoughts
Crash Ensemble

Mesmerism (Written by Paul Mac, Arranged by Jessica Wells)
Ensemble Offspring

Quartet No. 6
Aurea Quartet

Well, Well, Well
Red Note Ensemble

Ear to the Ground keeps you in the loop with interviews and gig alerts from Scotland’s top-notch composers.

Hosted by Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames.

Sound edited by Mia Eames.

Website Links:

https://www.matthewwhiteside.co.uk/

http://thenightwith.com/

https://www.eartothegroundscotland.com/

 
Ailie Robertson: Revealing Hidden Sound Worlds

Ailie Robertson: Revealing Hidden Sound Worlds

July 28, 2021

In this episode we chat about to Ailie about her recent success at the Scottish Awards for New Music where her piece Skydance won the 'Dorico Award for Solo Work' (sponsored by Steinberg). We also discuss field recordings, motherhood, and a very squeaky gate!

Ailie is a multi-award winning composer, performer and creative curator whose work crosses the boundaries of traditional and contemporary music.

Winner of the ‘Achievement in New Music’ prize at the inaugural New Music Scotland Awards, Ailie has received commissions, awards, and residences from the PRS Foundation Creative Scotland, Enterprise Music Scotland, the CCA, Culture Ireland, Celtic Connections, EIFF, and CALQ Montreal. Recent commissions include pieces for the 2019 BBC Proms, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sound Festival, the Riot Ensemble, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Bang on a Can, the Dunedin Consort, and the Glasgow School of Art Choir.

With special thanks to performers:

Skydance - for Cello
Louise McMonagle (Cello)

1 in 4 - for Vocal Trio
EXAUDI

Dun Shith - for Double Bass and Electronics
Will Yaeger (Double Bass)

Ear to the Ground keeps you in the loop with interviews and gig alerts from Scotland’s top-notch composers.

Hosted by Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames.

Sound edited by Mia Eames.

Website Links:

https://www.ailierobertson.com/

https://www.eartothegroundscotland.com/

 
Darlene Zarabozo: Exploring Connection and Disconnection through Electronic Music

Darlene Zarabozo: Exploring Connection and Disconnection through Electronic Music

June 18, 2021

Darlene Zarabozo is a Cuban-American composer, sound artist, musician and collaborator based in Glasgow. She is currently finishing her bachelor’s in composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the tutelage of Linda Buckley and support from Alistair MacDonald in her electroacoustic studies.

Recently, she is one of six composers to be shortlisted by New Music Scotland and Scottish Music Centre for ISCM 2021 for her text-spoken electroacoustic piece, The Inevitable Withdrawal (feat. text by Phoebe McGowan). She was also featured on BBC Radio Scotland: Introducing for her song, This Heart Breaks for You, which was broadcasted in March.

More recently, her piece, are You there?, won the violin and electronics commission for The Night With... for violinist Emma Lloyd.

List of pieces:

The Inevitable Withdrawal/Cheap Emotions

are You there?

The Bacchae

The Typewriter Manifesto

Ear to the Ground keeps you in the loop with interviews and gig alerts from Scotland’s top-notch composers.

Hosted by Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames.

Sound edited by Mia Eames.

Website Links:

Cheap Emotions:
 
This Heart Breaks For You:
Alastair White: Fashion Opera

Alastair White: Fashion Opera

May 19, 2021

Today, we are joined with Alastair White, a Scottish composer and writer currently studying a PhD at Goldsmiths in London. Alastair has been shortlisted for a Scottish Award for New Music twice and has created work for the opera festivals Tete-a-tete and Opera in the City, The Scottish
School of Contemporary Dance and The Scottish Poetry Library along with many others.

In this episode we discuss Alastair's recent release with Métier Records, fashion-opera ROBE.

"ROBE is a one hour opera about cities, virtual reality and artificial intelligence that combines fashion, contemporary dance, experimental theatre, design, poetry and virtuosic music to create multi-layered worlds within worlds. Scored for piano, flute and four singers, it tells the story of an A.I., EDINBURGH, that wants to become a living city.  Part elegy for a vanished past, part manifesto pointing the way into a heady, transhuman future, ROBE uses its multilayered form to dramatise the relationship between virtual reality, official history and raw, personal experience."

With special thanks to performers:

ROBE

Clara Kanter (Mezzo-Soprano)

Rosie Middleton (Mezzo-Soprano)

Sarah Parkin (Soprano)

Kelly Poukens (Soprano)

Jenni Hogan (Flute)

Ben Smith (Piano and Musical Direction)

Ear to the Ground keeps you in the loop with interviews and gig alerts from Scotland’s top-notch composers.

Hosted by Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames.

Sound edited by Mia Eames.

Website Links:

https://www.alastairwhite.org/

https://www.eartothegroundscotland.com/

 

Tectonics: A Conversation with Ilan Volkov, Tania León and Olivia Furey

Tectonics: A Conversation with Ilan Volkov, Tania León and Olivia Furey

May 1, 2021

With Tectonics 2021 just around the corner, we spoke to co-curator Ilan Volkov along with composer Tania León and performance and sound artist Olivia Furey who are both involved in the festival this year.

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s annual festival of new and experimental music returns on the 8th and 9th of May with a line-up featuring many of the artists scheduled for 2020. Tectonics Glasgow once again sees international and Glasgow-based artists come together to blur musical boundaries and question what music can be.

The festival features live performances on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds as well as performances being available online at bbc.co.uk/bbcsso.

Lisa Robertson: “Telling It Like It Is” with Music and Nature

Lisa Robertson: “Telling It Like It Is” with Music and Nature

April 21, 2021

In this episode, we had the pleasure of chatting to composer and violinist Lisa Robertson. 

Lisa is from the West Highlands of Scotland and is particularly interested in combining sounds from nature and folk music, and examining relationships between people and the land, often highlighting environmental concerns.

Recently, she was featured in BBC Music Magazine's 'Rising Stars' column. Her music has been performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, EXAUDI, Red Note Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble, Lucy Schaufer, and Heather Roche, among others. 

With special thanks to performers:

To Tell It Like It Is
Ben Parry & NYCGB Fellowship

Can We Not Hear The Birds That Sing?
Lisa Robertson (Violin)

Machair
Nordic Viola

The Inimitable Brightness of The Air
Red Note Ensemble

Ear to the Ground keeps you in the loop with interviews and gig alerts from Scotland’s top-notch composers.

Hosted by Aileen Sweeney and Ben Eames.

Sound edited by Mia Eames.

Website Links:

https://www.lisarobertsonmusic.com/

https://www.eartothegroundscotland.com/

 

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