The Glasgow School of Art Choir will be recording a brand new choral work, written about the Mackintosh Building, in the Mackintosh Library in June 2016. The piece, entitled “Light Through Tall Windows” was written as a response to the fire which partially damaged the Mackintosh Building in 2014, and is a collaboration between two GSA alumni: writer and broadcaster, Muriel Gray (lyricist), and Jamie Sansbury, founder and Musical Director of the GSA Choir (composer).

“The fire in 2014 was an emotional and traumatic event, not just for the School, but for its students and alumni,” says Musical Director, Jamie Sansbury. “If you haven’t studied or worked here it is hard to understand that the Mackintosh Building is so much more than just walls, a roof and windows. The ‘Mack’ was, and always will be, the heart of the GSA…something we all love and of which we are enormously proud. This piece is an attempt to set down, in a more tangible way, the joy the building instils in students and staff at the School, the enduring enlightenment it represents, and the impact that has upon them for the rest of their lives. The work is dedicated to the staff, students and alumni of the GSA.” (continues below)

Mackintosh Library windows, Alan McAteer

Windows in the Mackintosh Library in the Mackintosh Building. Photo by Alan McAteer.

“This project has evolved as it’s progressed,” says Jamie Sansbury. “When we completed the piece we knew that we wanted the choir to première the work, and we hoped that it would be an important creative response to the fire, but it was only much later that the possibility of recording in the library itself – the very heart of the building – came about, and the idea of releasing a CD was suggested. By recording in the library in its damaged state, we hope that some of the sounds of the city will be audible in the background of the finished recording: the irony of course is that although the piece is called “Light Through Tall Windows” there aren’t any windows in the library just now.”

The Glasgow School of Art Choir in May 2016. Photo by Chris Scott.

The Glasgow School of Art Choir in May 2016. Photo by Chris Scott.

“I first joined the GSA Choir when rehearsals were held each week in the stunning Mackintosh lecture theatre (the very place where, as a student, I used to shift uncomfortably during lectures.)” says Muriel Gray. “We took it for granted that we could make music as well as art in that lovely space below the library, and that we would always be able to do so. The devastation of the fire left us reeling in shock. Like most people that the GSA had fostered, the choir’s response was to try and create something positive out of it. Together Jamie and I wrote a short piece for the choir to perform that would remind us about the gift Mackintosh had given all of us. Jamie’s score was beautiful and we all agreed that recording and selling copies would be a hugely appropriate way for us to contribute to the fund-raising appeal for our beloved building. That we’ve been granted permission to record it in the library itself is thrilling and daunting in equal measure, and it’s something that each and every choir member will never forget.”

The work will be released as a CD single on 27 March 2017 and will be sold to raise money for the Mackintosh Campus Appeal. It is available to pre-order now from the choir website as a physical compact disc and as an mp3 download.

For further information contact Kate Hollands on 0141 566 1446 or k.hollands@gsa.ac.uk;

For further information on the Mackintosh Building contact Lesley Booth on 0779 941 4474 or press@gsa.ac.uk;

The work will be recorded and produced by Jud Mahoney.