Scotland’s Contemporary Music Ensemble

Since its formation in 2008, Red Note Ensemble has taken up a leadership position as Scotland’s contemporary music ensemble, performing and developing both an extensive, highly-varied and critically-acclaimed programme of new music.

Since its formation Red Note Ensemble has taken up a leadership position as Scotland’s contemporary music ensemble, performing and developing an extensive, highly-varied and critically-acclaimed programme of new music to the highest standards, and taking new music out to audiences across Scotland and internationally.

Red Note performs the established classics of contemporary music, commissions new music, develops the work of new and emerging composers and performers from Scotland and around the world, and finds new spaces and new ways of performing contemporary music to attract new audiences. Within Scotland the ensemble has performed from the Outer Hebrides to the Borders in concert halls, bothies, pubs, clubs and aircraft hangars, amongst other unusual settings. Outwith the UK it has a growing international reputation, performing to great acclaim at festivals in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Australia in recent years. The ensemble also undertakes an extensive programme of Access, Engagement and Participation (AEP) work, focusing particularly upon working with younger and older people, people with multiple disabilities, people living in areas of multiple deprivation, and also working to address inequalities of access and representation due to race/ethnicity and gender imbalances. We also undertake an extensive performer and composer development programme within schools, universities and conservatoires nationally and internationally.

Red Note’s work in 2021 started with internal performances of Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and John Adam’s Shaker Loops as part of the Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. We have had to adapt our programme to the new circumstances brought by the pandemic, but we continued to place the development of new talent at the centre. As resident ensemble at the RCS, we recorded 5 new pieces by Erin Thomson, Callum Huseyin, Gabriel Stenborg, Evan Bailey and Ellie Cherry for PLUG 2021, RCS’ annual festival showcasing the best works from the next generation of composers. In partnership with soundfestival, we performed a special edition of Noisy Nights, an outlet to hear emerging new musical ideas and voices, showcasing the talent of neurodiverse composers (Jason Hodgson, Joe Stollery, Siôn Parkinson, Sera Wright , Zoe Cutler and Rylan Gleave). Alongside this, we had our first in-person concert since the start of the pandemic at soundfestival. This included Phil Cashian’s Scenes from the Life of Viscount Medardo (UK Premiere), where we were joined by Richard Watkins, former Principal Horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra. The programme also consisted of World Premiere from Rylan Gleave, UNSUNG II; even from a loved one, and Aileen Sweeney, Feda. We also returned to the Edinburgh Fringe as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase, live-streaming Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ iconic concert-hall work Vesalii Icones from Greyfriars Kirk, in our production of Iconnotations with Matthew Hawkins.

Our Autumn Block was packed with perfomances, development and commissions. We performed at Horsecross Perth Concert Hall and Theatre, Lammermuir Festival and soundfestival 2021, featuring works from Tansy Davies, James Dillon, Edwin Hillier, Luke Styles and Ailie Robertson. We also had a return to our AEP work in Easterhouse, as Brian Irvine and Western Jerwood fellow, Martina Corsini, began the latest development on A Childs Guide to Anarchy, which is due to be recorded and released later in 2022. Martina was also commissioned by Red Note, alongside co-composer Manuel Figueroa-Bolvaran. Together, they composed the mutli-meida work, sub mari, which premiered during the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. Simultaneously, we began developments on a new co-commissioned opera project with soundstreams called New Normal. Composers Anna Pidgorna and Brian Irivne are each composing for the ensembles, which is due to premiere in 2022/23. We rounded off the year with James Dillon’s world premiere of EMBLEMATA:Carnival at hcmf//. The work has been recorded alongside his previous commission, Tanz/Haus:Triptych for a CD release with Delphian Records later in 2022.

Red Note is Associate Contemporary Ensemble at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow and Associate Ensemble of the soundfestival Aberdeen.

Red Note is a Delphian Records recording artist, releasing CDs of music by Eddie McGuire, John McLeod, David Wilde and Lyell Cresswell to great acclaim, and a 5th CD – of music by James Dillon – released in 2022.

Red Note is also a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner and a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries host.

The premiere was delivered with superb focus and intensity by Scotland’s top contemporary music ensemble, Red Note, who seem incapable of being dazed by anything and who add their own wit and bright spirit to whatever they tackle” Kate Molleson, The Herald

Red Note Ensemble’s blistering account of three radical masterpieces….a magnificent achievement in dazzling venue” David Kettle, The Scotsman

Red Note Ensemble is a Scottish success story.” Anna Picard, The Times

Red Note Ensemble, superb Scottish specialists in the contemporary, deliver ever piece with precision and relish.” BBC Music Magazine

(Red Note’s pianist) Simon Smith knocked off outrageously elaborate figuration as though a tune on a pub piano.” Paul Driver, Sunday Times

Meet The Team

Meet The Board