Scotland's only Street Orchestra is heading for the Outer Hebrides, reaching the Isle of Harris on Friday (August 23rd).
The Nevis Ensemble has as its vision ‘music for everyone, everywhere’, and they are set to prove it with a series of concerts in community halls, schools and much less traditional venues – such as the beaches at Seilebost and Luskentyre.
The Nevis Ensemble experience sees 40 young and energetic musicians run out of a bus, instruments in hand, breaking into performance less than five minutes later. They promise that every crowd will hear something incredible and unexpected, in a full-scale orchestral performances of the most diverse music you can imagine.
The Outer Hebrides tour will be conducted by artistic directors Holly Mathieson and Jon Hargreaves Nevis and the playlist will be different for every performance. Works played range from the earliest written-down music, by Hildegard of Bingen (born 1098!) to pop classics by A-Ha, Toto and Shirley Bassey – although some of the more expected classics by Handel, Mozart and Debussy are in there too.
For the Hebrides tour additional features include Scottish ceilidh dances, Gaelic songs, Waulking songs from Lewis and the world premiere of a new work by Rufus Elliot, GEILT (a number of ways), based on the composer’s experiences of hitch-hiking around the Hebrides.
The Nevis Ensemble will perform at Berneray West Beach on Friday afternoon at 3pm, before boarding the Loch Portain to cross the Sound of Harris.
An intimate evening performance at St Clement’s Church in Rodel on Friday night comes before the orchestra’s ‘side-trip’ to St Kilda, a highlight the musicians have looked forward to. They’ll travel on four chartered boats to Hirta on Saturday 24th August and expect to play to a million seabirds, National Trust rangers and military personnel.
Back in Harris on Sunday 25th there’ll be two performances for unsuspecting passers-by on Seilebost and Luskentyre beaches – no times are being given to allow for both the weather and the element of surprise. The Harris tour concludes with an 11am performance at the Isle of Harris distillery in Tarbert.
Nevis Ensemble conclude their tour in Lewis the same day, before heading for Skye on the Tarbert ferry. This tour has been supported by Creative Scotland, the Robertson Trust, CalMac, Witherby Publishing Group Charitable Trust, Foundation Scotland, William Grant Foundation, An Lanntair, and Cubby’s Midge Salves.