Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra 75th Anniversary Auditions

Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra

Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, one of the UK’s longest-running youth orchestras, have opened auditions for their 75th anniversary season, which will feature concerts at Cadogan Hall in March 2020 and Queen Elizabeth Hall in June 2020.

Held in September 2019, applications are open to Grade 4-6 players for the Training Orchestra and Grade 7+ players for the Main Orchestra. Founded in 1944 and based in Wimbledon, London, SYO welcomes young musicians from all backgrounds to develop their skills and nurture a lifelong love of music. As a registered charity offering financial assistance, no player who is musically eligible will be denied access for financial reasons. It welcomes interest from any instrument but is particularly keen to add violas, double basses, horns, trombones and percussion to both orchestras.

SYO has more than 160 members from the ages of 8 to 18, drawn from around 80 schools across Surrey and London. They perform three concerts a year in some of the best concert halls in and around London, including the Royal College of Music, Cadogan Hall and St John’s Smith Square and regularly undertake a European summer tour. The 75th anniversary season will see performances at both Cadogan Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, one of the UK’s oldest youth orchestras, opens auditions for their 75th Anniversary season. For more info:

Music at Paxton launches 10th anniversary programme

Paxton House 2 LRMusic at Paxton, a summer festival of superb international chamber music, takes place in Paxton House on the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders from 17 – 26 July 2015. The concerts offer an intimate, friendly and relaxed experience and take place in Paxton House’s splendid Picture Gallery. With its large, domed roof-light that lets in the summer sun and walls hung high with paintings from the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection, it is an idyllic setting for chamber music.

Highlights include:

Brahms and Viennese threads throughout the programme
First Scottish performance by Signum Quartet
Paxton debuts by Natalie Clein, Benjamin Grosvenor and Notos Piano Quartet
Les Canards Chantants’ Dowland’s Table concert with refreshments of the period (1563-1626) for Year of Food and Drink 2015
FREE Meet the Artists event
Continuing this year: two FREE ‘Music at Paxton…Plus’ concerts for full details and to book tickets

Festival Fest!

It’s an action packed festival weekend for team VJP Media. 

Combining music, literature and performance this year’s Solas Festival in Tibbermore, Perthshire could be the best yet. Dubbed ‘Scotland’s best kept secret’, s identity and place in the wider world ahead of the September referendum. 

An all-star line up includes Liz Lochhead, King Creosote, Josie Long, Robin Ince, James Robertson and Shelagh McDonald. And with music, a mini film festival, comedians, circus performers, writers, talks, debates, theatre and dance all on display there really should be something for everybody.

This year St Magnus International Festival celebrates connections with Norway and Italy and the 80th birthday of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies as well as Scotland’s Year of Homecoming. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, the Trondheim Soloists, Sergei Leiferkus, Nicholas Daniel, Joan Rodgers, the Fidelio Trio, Astrid String Quartet and Hugo Ticciati all take to the stage across the week long festival. 

Culture and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop was in Kirkwall to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution at a concert headlined by some of Norway’s most acclaimed classical musicians – the five-time Grammy Award-nominated Trondheim Soloists.

Solas Festival programme elebrating culture from around the Commonwealth and beyond

Celebrating culture from around the Commonwealth and beyond

Solas Festival returns to the beautiful site of The Bield at Blackruthven, Tibbermore in rural Perthshire. Now in its fifth year, Solas Festival, from 20-22 June, is an all-age weekend arts festival featuring performances and workshops in music, theatre, dance, literature and visual arts, as well as a programme of talks and debates.

This year’s theme of  ‘Creative Commons’ celebrates the best of culture from around the Commonwealth and beyond, and considers Scotland’s identity and place in this wider world ahead of the September referendum.

The festival programme is designed to entertain, inspire and challenge, providing opportunities for artists and audiences to come together and collaborate. King Creosote, Liz Lochhead, Rachel Sermani, Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate, Alasdair Gray, and RM Hubbert are set to join previously announced Stanley Odd, Robin Ince, Josie Long and Beerjacket.  

Dot Reid, Solas Festival Vice-Chair and Head of Programme, said: “In the context of a great artistic programme and with the help of Scottish artists, writers and thinkers, Solas Festival addresses some of the big issues facing Scotland: the upcoming referendum and Scotland’s future whatever the outcome of the vote, sectarianism, community action and much more. Prepare to be entertained, challenged and amused all in one field in Perthshire”

Literary big hitters Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead and James Robertson will all be reading from their own work; Alasdair recites from his autobiography and discusses Kevin Cameron’s film ‘Life in Progress’, James reads from a selection of 365 word stories that he has written every day this year. Liz Lochhead returns to expand on her Solas Festival 2013 prediction that Scotland will need its artists even more after September’s referendum, regardless of the outcome. She will also read from her own work.

Scottish Hip-Hop is gaining mainstream credibility and Stanley Odd and Hector Bizerk lead the pack on the east and west coasts respectively. They’ll be playing sets and running a rap workshop for younger festival goers.

Comedian, presenter, writer, grassroots political activist and cartoonist Josie Long joins writer, actor, comedian and, some would say, uber-geek, Robin Ince on the comedy stage. More accustomed to a BBC studio than the Perthshire countryside, they’ll undoubtedly add political satire and hilarity to the bustling line-up.

As the country considers its future, Solas Festival has one of the best line-ups in Scotland to help you reflect on the referendum; Liz Lochhead, Alasdair Gray, James Robertson, Lesley Riddoch, Gerry Hassan, Tom Devine, King Creosote, Stanley Odd, Mogwai’s Stuart

Braithwaite and Hector Bizerk will all join the debate across the weekend, with the focus on how our artists can help to heal the divides in Scotland after the votes are counted.

Astounding duo, Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate, were thrown together in 2010 by Marseille’s Nuit Metis (Mixed Night) Festival despite having no spoken language in common, but quickly found shared expression in their music. Known as the ‘Hendrix of the kora’, Kouyate brings powerful West African influences to play with Driscoll’s unique fusion of folk and hip-hop, creating a captivating sound that can speak to music-lovers the world over, and perfect for the cross-cultural and collaborative programme at Solas Festival.

Artists RM Hubbert and Shelagh McDonald not only bring their considerable talents to Solas Festival, they are also willing to talk about how their mental health difficulties have affected their creative output.

Findlay Napier hosts the Scottish Roots Baton Relay, Solas Festival’s prelude to the Commonwealth Games, as artists and performers pass the baton in a fast-moving and unique collaboration of song and dance.

Refugee football team United Glasgow are running 5 –side-football sessions, and some of the best performers in Scotland take to the stage in a late-night, informal festival review session in the barn.  

Other artists set to perform this year include Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5, Jo Mango, Call to Mind, Randolph’s Leap, Hector Bizerk, The John Langan Band and James Robertson.  

Frankie Campbell, Solas Festival Coordinator said: “We’re really proud of the line-up for our fifth festival. It’s eclectic, international and superb quality, distilling the best of music, arts and thought-provoking debate from throughout Scotland and beyond, into one charmingly packed weekend. We’ll be showcasing some more of the local talent this year, as well as bringing artists of national and international reputation to the delightfully unlikely location of a barn in Tibbermore.”

Solas Festival invites festival-goers to step out of the daily grind for a stolen weekend to engage with the richness of Scottish creativity and culture.  This unique arts festival offers a diverse programme, family friendly atmosphere, camping, delicious local food, crafted beers and a petting zoo!

Bringing big ideas to little tents, you’ll get more than you bargained for at this pint-sized

Solas Festival Dates: 20 – 22 June 2014

Weekend tickets available online at and include camping, caravanning and motor homes, car parking and entry to all events. Children (0-11years) come free, but you must still book a ticket. Adult Weekend £93.94 / Youth Weekend £34.43 ages 12-17 / Kids Weekend Free ages 0 -11 / Adult Concession Weekend £68.07 

Follow us on twitter @solasfestival

Edinburgh’s Oldest and Newest Festival

A Feast of Culture in the Festival City
24th April to 6th May 2013

A vibrant celebration of folk arts is the newest addition to Edinburgh’s Festival calendar. Music, song, dance, craft, storytelling, environmental events and folk drama are all included.

TradFest Edinburgh •Dùn Èideann digs deep into the city’s history with Beltane and the Mayday plays. But it also rides the radical edge with contemporary songs of struggle and protest. From earliest times the people of Edinburgh marked the start of summer with hilltop fires and silent dawns. Harvesting fresh boughs they then danced and performed street plays about mythical heroes such as Robin of the greenwood.

TradFest re-animates ancient traditions and equally, TradFest artists are catalysts for creative change. Harnessing new ideas to old sources, the TradFest programme has been shaped by partner artists and co-curators including Alasdair Roberts , Sandy Brechin, Fred Freeman, Wendy Welch, Karine Polwart, Dave Francis, Simon Thoumire, Hamish Moore, Dannsa, Cruinn, Northern Streams, Andy Cannon, David Campbell and Edinburgh Folk Club. From Para Handy send up, to Irish immigration, masked mummers, Gaelic Edinburgh and Mayday protests across Europe, TradFest stirs a strong creative brew.

TradFest Edinburgh Dùn Èideann is supported by Edinburgh City Council as a next stage development from the former Ceilidh Culture promotion. The Source-Sruth curated programme is supported by Creative Scotland’s Traditional Arts Commissioning Fund.

For this pilot year, the Festival is managed by the Scottish Storytelling Centre on behalf of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland). TRACS brings together the Traditional Music Forum, the Scottish Storytelling Forum, and the Traditions of Dance Forum, in a shared ambition to renew Scotland’s traditional arts for the twenty-first century. TradFest Edinburgh•Dùn Èideann heralds a wave of Festivals and Feisean across Scotland, showcasing the best of Scottish arts through until the autumn.

Astar is Born

60,000 babies across Scotland take their first step on a life-long musical journey.

From October 2012 every single child born in Scotland will begin a lifelong musical journey when they receive a specially-commissioned CD of Scottish songs, nursery rhymes and children’s favourite classical pieces. 

Thanks to a groundbreaking initiative between the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), Creative Scotland, National Records of Scotland and Association of Registrars of Scotland, every baby born between 15 October 2012 and 14 October 2013 will receive a copy of Astar when their parents register the birth and receive their birth certificate.  

Astar (Gaelic for journey) was recorded by the RSNO, RSNO Chorus and new Music Director Peter Oundjian to introduce music into the lives of 60,000 Scottish families and to help parents learn, play and rest with their new arrivals. 

Former STV golden girl, and mum of two, Sarah Heaney joined a group of toddlers from Suffolk House Nursery, Edinburgh to help launch the CD: “I think this is a wonderful project to be involved in and for our family music has always played an enormous part. My kids, from day one, have been surrounded by music of some kind or other, from starting off banging pots and pans to taking part in musical groups. 

“Music is a universal language and has help my kids develop a real confidence, getting involved with other kids and is a fantastic way of expressing and exploring their creativity. And for parents there are benefits too. If you are lucky enough to go to a toddlers music group it’s a fabulous way of meeting other parents and the beauty of music is that it stays with you your whole life, it’s in everything and its everywhere.”

Listening to beautiful music has a direct impact on how much your baby’s brain grows. It can put them in a great mood, help with communicating, coordination and bonding, and supports their first steps towards a life-long love of music. 

Astar contains a variety of music cleverly organised into three sections: Wake, Play and Nap. The sleeve notes contain top tips for enjoying music with newborns, fun games connected to each track, and the lyrics to some of Scotland’s best loved nursery rhymes: Ally Bally Bee, The Little Horses and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. 

Performed by the RSNO and RSNO Junior Chorus, with Music Director Peter Oundjian, the repertoire reflects the wonderful power and sound of a symphony orchestra – a completely new experience for many families. Scottish classics such as The Skye Boat Song, Eightsome Reels and Three Craws Sat Upon a Wa’ snuggle alongside timeless masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Debussy. 

RSNO Music Director Peter Oundjian: “When I was an infant my godfather gave me a tiny record player. I would place it under the family piano and put on my prized recording of Peter and the Wolf. It became my sanctuary, a place where I knew I could find joy. I have found that the power and beauty of music can truly transform lives and I seriously hope that the recipients of Astar enjoy many hours of shared pleasure to this wonderful music.”

Music is the most universal of all art forms and the RSNO plans to support parents and carers in building music and creativity into their everyday lives, and to nurture a life-long love of music for themselves, their baby and the rest of their family. Opportunities for babies and their parents to participate in follow-on workshops are being planned across the country from 2013 and all will be invited to sign up to the Orchestra’s Under 5s initiative.

The Lammermuir Festival Podcasts

Radio Lammermuir is a series of weekly podcasts that go behind the scenes at this years Lammermuir Festival.

Chatting to the artists and visiting the venues, they will give you a flavour of some of the beautiful music you can hear at this year’s festival.


Beautiful Music in Beautiful Places

14 – 23 September 2012

Beautiful Music in Beautiful Places

sensational music and light event at Tantallon Castle
new series of lunchtime song recitals in association with BBC Radio 3
guitar phenomenon Sean Shibe is Young Artist In Residence
six new venues including Tantallon Castle, Yester House and Glenkinchie Distillery
talks, walks and Festival garden openings

The Lammermuir Festival returns for its third year presenting its biggest and most diverse programme to date.  In unusual and stunning venues throughout the picturesque region of East Lothian, Scotland, the Festival runs from Friday 14 – Sunday 23 September 2012. Most exciting of all is the spectacular event at the breathtaking medieval ruins of Tantallon Castle, commissioned by the Festival as part of the Year of Creative Scotland.

‘Beautiful Music In Beautiful Places’ is the hallmark of the Lammermuir Festival. The stunning natural beauty of the region and its abundance of interesting venues provide the perfect setting. The Lammermuir Festival offers a sense of discovery: discovering music you might not have heard before, discovering new places in East Lothian, or even discovering that a place you know well is transformed when filled with music.  

This year’s Festival brings new events: a series of lunchtime song recitals, talks, guided walks and some glorious East Lothian gardens, which will be open throughout the Festival.

The programme features world-class performances of live music from renowned musicians, alongside some of the finest young artists on the scene today.  Two of Scotland’s finest orchestras return, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and we welcome back the young Navarra Quartet. The Dunedin Consort opens the Festival with Bach’s St John Passion on Friday 14 September, preceding their new recording of the work due for release in 2013.  NYCOS (National Youth Choir of Scotland) this year close the Festival with a performance of Fauré’s Requiem in partnership with Northern Sinfonia from the Sage in Newcastle, who make their Lammermuir debut.

Also making their first appearances at The Lammermuir Festival are the outstanding baroque groups Ensemble Marsyas and La Serinissima, as well as Gramophone Award-winning The Cardinall’s Musick on their year-long UK tour performing the music of William Byrd.

Rising star guitarist, Sean Shibe, is this year’s Young Artist in Residence, appearing in recital at Lennoxlove House on Tuesday 18 September, as soloist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Dunbar on Saturday 15 September, and in concert with the Navarra Quartet at Whitekirk on Sunday 23 September. 

Lammermuir 2012 celebrates the guitar on Saturday 15 September with Dunbar Guitar: three concerts featuring the Maxwell String Quartet and leading guitarist Allan Neave, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Sean Shibe and ending in the unexpected setting of Belhaven Fruit Farm for a relaxed and fun evening of guitar music from around the world.

Actor Robert Hardy, well known for his roles as Siegfried in All Creatures Great and Small and Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter films is also a highly respected historian.  He was a personal friend of Patrick O’Brian, author of the famous seafaring novels which include ‘Master and Commander’. The concert on Sunday 16 September features excerpts read by Robert Hardy, interspersed with music from the books by Mozart, Boccherini, Haydn and Dittersdorf, performed by the Raeburn Quartet.

A new series of lunchtime recitals has a theme of ‘The Seasons’ devised and performed by Joseph Middleton, an already highly acclaimed young accompanist. He has assembled a cast of four exciting and charismatic young singers: Sophie Bevan, soprano; Andrew Kennedy, tenor; Jennifer Johnston, mezzo-soprano and Marcus Farnsworth, baritone.  The lunchtime recitals are presented in association with BBC Radio 3 and will be broadcast in February 2013.

Saturday 22 September is The Lammermuir Festival’s Handel Day.  We look at several aspects of this great composer, his early career in Italy and his charming organ concerti.  Close to the anniversary of the Battle of Prestonpans (21 September) we conclude with a fascinating programme curated by Rob Howarth around music linked to the Jacobite rising: Getting a Handel on the Jacobite Rising.

For the third year running, The Lammermuir Festival presents a spectacular site-specific music event unique to East Lothian. One of Scotland’s most significant historic sites, Tantallon Castle, set against a stunning natural landscape looking out to the Bass Rock, is the backdrop for a brilliant music and light show.  The Lammermuir Festival has commissioned writer Aonghas MacNeacail and composer William Sweeney to create a new work which will bring the building, its story and East Lothian’s extraordinary past alive.  The music will be performed by Red Note Ensemble and powerful images will be projected on the castle’s walls using state-of-the-art technology, brought to us by Culture Creative, renowned for their recent stunning light show in Belfast for the Titanic centenary. This event is part of Year of Creative Scotland.

The Lammermuir Festival visits fifteen performance venues, including six new for 2012. They range from churches to historic private houses and from a distillery to the ruins of Tantallon.  The Festival brings a rare chance to see inside some fine houses not normally open to the public: Yester House, where Hebrides Ensemble perform on Monday 17 September, was home for many years to composer Gian Carlo Menotti and his family still lives there.   Lennoxlove House, where Sean Shibe plays on Tuesday 18 September, is the home of the Duke of Hamilton, Scotland’s premier peer; and Winton House in Pencaitland has among its many points of interest an impressive collection of fine art, including works by Van Dyck and Canaletto.

Two rather different 2012 venues are Glenkinchie Distillery and Belhaven Fruit Farm.

The Lammermuir Festival’s premier venue is St Mary’s Church, Haddington, which is one of the finest remaining active medieval churches in Scotland.  St Mary’s, Haddington hosts five performances, including the opening and closing concerts of the Festival.

This year the Festival presents a series of talks giving an insight into the event including Artistic Directors Hugh MacDonald and James Waters; Young Artist in Residence, Sean Shibe; the Dunedin Consort’s John Butt and La Serenissima’s Adrian Chandler.

Mercat Tours offer two guided walks, suitable for all ages, discovering the history and stories of Haddington, including the famous East Lothian witch trials.
Four of East Lothian’s finest gardens are open during the festival: Johnstounburn House, Humbie; Broadwoodside, Gifford; Shepherd House, Inveresk and St Mary’s Pleasance, Haddington.
East Lothian is renowned for fine produce, and the county has a great range of excellent places to eat and drink. We have on offer for ticket holders a pre-concert, two-course meal at £9.95 for lunchtimes or £13.50 for evenings. Book in advance on or 01620 825674. 

Other offers are the Royal Mackintosh Hotel, Dunbar offering a free glass of wine with a two course meal throughout September and October by showing The Lammermuir Festival brochure; and the Waterloo Bistro, Haddington who offer two courses for £12.95 from 5.00pm – quote WAT/LAM when booking.

TICKETS: 0131 473 2000. In person from The Hub, Edinburgh or in person from Hilary’s Deli, Court Street, Haddington.

TALKS: free of charge but tickets available in advance and on the door 30 mins before event

WALKS: to book.

FESTIVAL GARDENS: Tickets £5 must be booked in advance or 0131 473 2000. Note: St Mary’s Pleasance, Haddington is free.