sound Festival & Red Note commission set for first ever UK New Music Biennale

Red Note GCThe partnership between sound, Scotland’s leading New Music festival, Woodend Barn and the acclaimed Red Note Ensemble continues in a new commission from composer Stephen Montague, which is to be part of the UK’s first ever New Music Biennale.

Montague will write a new children’s work for 6 musicians and narrator based on tales sent in by children from different countries across the Commonwealth, which will be rewritten by award-winning playwright Zinnie Harris. The work will be premiered at Woodend Barn in Banchory (Aberdeenshire) in June 2014, followed by further performances at the South Bank Centre in London and in Glasgow as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games celebrations.

The work will also be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and recorded by NMC Records. The children’s stories will be sourced through one of Scotland’s major development charities, SCIAF’s, international partners. The commission was one of twenty announced by the PRS for Music Foundation at London’s South Bank Centre.

Red Note Ensemble Spring Programme

13 Feb New Music for Strings side-by-side with RCS MusicLab, 7:30pm Music by Part, Adams, McPherson, Munday and Le Lohé

14-16 Feb Red Note and JAM (1) Music for Choir, Organ and Brass in St Andrews, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, all 7:30pm Music by Britten, Rory Boyle, Philip Cooke, Kenneth Leighton and Julian Philips

19-20 Feb Red Note and JAM (2) Music for Voices, Organ and Strings in Glasgow and Edinburgh, all 8pm Music by Pergolesi and Judith Bingham.

25 Feb Noisy Night No. 21 in the Traverse Theatre, 8pm: music for Trumpet, Flute and ‘Cello

6-8 Mar Pictures at an Exhibition Workshops for Primary Schools in Association with Peacock Visual Arts in the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen

9 Mar Noisy Night No. 22 in the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, 8pm: more music for Trumpet, Flute and ‘Cello!

All information on all of these is to be found on; composers should consult for the line-ups and deadlines for the two Noisy Nights (Aberdeen and Aberdeen-area composers are especially encouraged to submit for the Lemon Tree performance).

The Intoxicating Rose Garden

The Intoxicating Rose Garden is a new hybrid work which takes Sally Beamish’s settings of poems by Hafez, the 14th century Persian mystic, as its starting-point. Combining music, song, dance and animated image, it explores the longing and separation, as well as the sense of belonging and completeness that are so present in Hafez’s poems: elements that somehow conflict with and complement one another in the same moment.

The animated images are based on Jila Peacock’s renderings of Hafez poetry in figural calligraphy. Red Note will be joined by the multi-faceted singer and dancer/choreographer, Michael Popper, and the outstanding young Iranian setar player Anoosh Jahanshahi, who will perform his own Songs from Hafez in traditional Persian classical style.

Tolbooth in Stirling 8:00pm, 15 November
Woodend Barn in Banchory 10:30am and 8:00pm, 17 November
Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh 7:30pm, 22 November

Red Note Ensemble Making A Noise At Social Media Week

From Monday 24th September to Saturday 29th September, Scotland’s contemporary music ensemble, Red Note, are asking people to record and email clips of their favourite noises. This could be anything from a child laughing, to a coffee machine steaming milk, a door bell ringing or a champagne cork popping. All the mp3 sound clips, recorded on mobile phones, will be uploaded onto a soundcloud to create a piece of new music that reflects Social Media Week’s vision of connecting through collaboration, learning and the sharing of ideas and information.

By using social media to capture and share the sounds that touch our lives, Red Note hope that Noisy Noises will demonstrate the artistic power of a connected society and showcase the noises that reflect our lives in the digital age. 

To take part in Noisy Noises please record 20 seconds of your favourite noise and email the mp3 to by 12pm on Saturday 29th September 2012. 

To hear the Noisy Noises visit

Red Note, Hear Us First

4 Star Review in Scotsman for Red Note’s Noisy Nights

Gig review: Red Note Ensemble, Edinburgh Jam House
By David Kettle
Published on Thursday 10 May 2012 04:02

With its array of massed laptops, miles of cabling, hi-tech headsets and glowing touch-sensitive globes, this was never going to be an ordinary evening – not even for the crack players of Scottish contemporary music Red Note.

The group joined forces with the Edinburgh-based Inventor Composer Coaction for seven new pieces combining instrumental sounds and live electronic manipulations of those sounds in some startlingly original ways.

The ever-changing textures of Jessica Aslan’s likeable Cache, for example, triggered sampled noises from Diemo Schwarz’s CataRT software to conjure a ghostly mirror ensemble, heard but never seen. The Red Note players donned sensors that looked worryingly like offenders’ tags for Shiori Usui’s aptly titled Into the Flesh, which they performed as much with their muscle movements as with their instruments.

Admittedly, the technology outshone the musical content in some pieces, and the raucous improvisations of Christos Michalakos’s concluding Death Ground (Approximately) seemed a little out of place.

But Stuart MacRae’s masterful Shadow Study showed that less can be so much more, its quiet unisons gradually gathering a halo of subtle electronic effects as the piece developed.

The high point of the evening, though, was Harry Whalley’s Clasp Together (beta), which required Red Note clarinettist Peter Furniss to don a headband in order to control the piece’s electronics with his brainwaves. The score includes thought commands for the performer, the programme notes informed us, and watching Furniss close his eyes and relax his mind to take the piece to its quiet conclusion was unforgettable.

Rating: ****