Scottish Ensemble's new season celebrates artistic director Jonathan Morton’s 10th year - with plenty of his signature experimentation and quirky collaborations.
The Ensemble will appear at Spitalfields Summer Festival in London, at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, chamber music performances at Crear and the Ryedale and Paxton Festivals, a performance as part of Classics Marathon Day in Glasgow with violinist Nicola Benedetti and a major collaboration with the Edinburgh International Festival and Royal Over-Seas League.
This celebrates Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with the forming of Commonwealth Strings, a unique band of string players formed of the Ensemble's musicians and leading pre-professional musicians from across the Commonwealth.
And that will be the first event up for North classical music fans.
Celebrating The Commonwealth Games comes to Eden Court, Inverness on Wednesday, August 27 with 14 musicians from Scottish Ensemble being joined by 14 of the most talented pre-professional young string players from across the Commonwealth to create a unique double string orchestra.
They will play: Elgar's Introduction And Allegro, Op. 47, Sculthorpe Sonata For Strings No. 3, Vaughan Williams Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis, Tippett's Concerto For Double String Orchestra and Elgar's Serenade For Strings, Op. 20.
The Ensemble has doubled its audience in cities like Inverness and Aberdeen thanks to its city residency project.
And for its third year, the programme has a new series of four-day residencies to build on fostering increased local involvement with their partners in each place.
Expect the unexpected, is the message for Eden Court, Inverness (October 21 to 24) and at the Music Hall, Aberdeen (May 12 to 15).
Hotly-tipped Perth-born pianist Alasdair Beatson is the soloist for Mozart & Moz-art which will be the closing concert at Eden Court for the Inverness city residency on Friday, October 24, before the concert is performed at the Music Hall in Aberdeen on Saturday, October 25.
The pianist will play Mozart’s high-spirited Piano Concerto No.12 and joins Scottish Ensemble's Jonathan Morton, in Haydn’s witty Double Concerto In F. In between, two more recent composers provide their own take on those two great classical masters - Arvo Pärt in his moving Mozart-Adagio, and Alfred Schnittke in his mischievous Moz-Art à la Haydn.
One of Scottish Ensemble’s most popular annual highlights is their atmospheric Concerts By Candlight series, coming to both Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen on Friday, December 5 and Inverness Cathedral on Saturday, December 6.
This year Mozart’s joyful Eine kleine Nachtmusik is partnered by Borodin’s Sinfonia For Strings whch was written as a love letter to his wife. The third movement is one of his most instantly recognisable tunes. In between, there are new arrangements of two Chopin Nocturnes by David Matthews and the red-hot rhythms of Steve Martland’s Eternity’s Sunrise.
Sax Serenade in Eden Court, Inverness on Sunday, February 22 features Amy Dickson the young Classical Brit-winning, chart-topping saxophonist, who joins Scottish Ensemble in two powerful pieces for classical sax. Glazunov’s sparkling, virtuosic Saxophone Concerto is contrasted with the profound spirituality of Georgian composer Giya Kancheli’s Night Prayers. Also on the bill are Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, his dramatic response to the Second World War and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade For Strings.
From Russia With Love reaches the Music Hall, Aberdeen on Friday, May 15 next year and will close the 2015 residency in the city.
The music comes from Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky, two Russian musical giants. Scottish Ensemble says that Tchaikovsky's Andante Cantabile and the Serenade For Strings are "powerful, moving works that come straight from the heart".
But Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony was written during a visit to war-torn Dresden and is "a gripping portrayal of the brutality of conflict". His Two Pieces, Op. 11, complete the programme.
For ticket information (Inverness dates): Phone Eden Court box office on 01463 234 234 and www.eden-court.co.uk and for Aberdeen dates: The Music Hall, phone 01224 641 122 and visit www.aberdeenperformingarts.co.uk