Sir James MacMillan, CBE, commission for the re-opening of the Mackintosh Building
The Glasgow School of Art Choir has commissioned Sir James MacMillan, CBE, to compose a new choral work for the ensemble which will be premièred at the re-opening of the Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art in 2019, as part of the re-opening celebrations once the building has been restored, following the devastating fire in May 2014. The project has been made possible with the help of funding from Creative Scotland, the Hope Scott Trust and The Glasgow School of Art.
For full details, visit the MacMillan/Mackintosh project website.
In September 2016 the choir was selected as one of seven ensembles to take part in the 2016/17 Adopt a Composer scheme, which pairs amateur ensembles with a composer for one year, facilitating a series of workshops resulting in a brand new commission composed especially for the ensemble. The world première performance is recorded by BBC Radio 3 for broadcast during the following year.
The GSA Choir will be working in conjunction with Glasgow-based composer, Shona Mackay, whose new choral work, “Continuum”, will be premièred at the Glasgow School of Art Choir Fifth Anniversary Concert in May 2017.
“Light Through Tall Windows”
In June 2016 the Glasgow School of Art Choir recorded a brand new choral work, written about the Mackintosh Building, in the Mackintosh Library. 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 work was released as a CD single in March 2017 and is being sold to raise money for the Mackintosh Campus Appeal. It is available from the choir website as a physical compact disc and as an mp3 download. An extract of the world première recording can be heard here.
Live performance with “A New International”
On 6 May 2016 the Glasgow School of Art Choir performed live alongside Glasgow-based band, “A New International”. The choir featured as the band’s special guests during their performance at St Luke’s, Glasgow, where the band played songs from their debut album, “Come to the Fabulon”.
For the performance, the GSA Choir sang a selection of classical and contemporary choral choral music which complemented the band’s work and highlighted the wide range of classical influences their music contains.
“Hold Fast, Stand Sure, I scream a revolution”
In 2016 the choir took part in a binaural sound recording as part of an artwork by artist, Serena Korda, to be exhibited at the Glasgow International Festival in April that year. The recording of the choir was manipulated and played as part of a sonic sound ‘sculpture’. The work was described as follows:
“Korda has produced a new sound sculpture which combines her interest in primitive impulses, invented tradition and our skewed relationship to nature. Taking inspiration from the politically radical history of Garnethill, Korda continues her investigation into ‘thin places’, anomalies in the landscape which were viewed in pre-Christian times as access points to the afterlife. Foraging expeditions on the Isle of Mull presented the deadly potential of some fungi as possible pathways to ‘thin places’. Mushrooms are imbued in our consciousness as grotesque, magic and poisonous. They attract and repulse in equal measure.”
In December 2014 the choir was invited to perform the backing vocals on Glasgow-based singer-songwriter, Raymond Meade’s new album, “Whydolise?”. The choir features on the final track, “Shine a Light on Me”, alongside the Cairn String Quartet, Raymond and his band. The album was released on 15 May 2015. More information can be found here.
The ELIA 2014 Opening and Closing ceremonies
In November 2014 members of the choir performed alongside students from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at the official opening and closing events of the 2014 European League of Institutes of the Arts Conference. The biennial conference was held in Glasgow over two days and at the opening the combined GSA/RCS choirs performed a specially written arrangement of “Wilkommen” and “Loch Lomond”. The following evening the choir and host institutions offered the audience a “musical handshake of friendship” as over 400 delegates and performers sang “Auld Lang Syne”.
“Making It New”
On Wednesday 9 April 2014 the latest addition to The Glasgow School of Art campus – the Reid Building- was formally opened. At a ceremony attended by Robbie Coltrane, numerous dignitaries and the national press, a variety of events and celebrations were held throughout the day, one of which was a very special performance by the Glasgow School of Art Choir: the world première of “Making It New”. With lyrics by the then Scots Makar, Liz Lochhead, and music by well-known composer, Ken Johnston, the piece was made possible with the help of Creative Scotland funding and is a musical celebration of the creation of art.
Held in 2013, “Sauchieholiday 2” was a two-day creative festival organised by The Glasgow School of Art Students’ Association. The event comprised student organised workshops, exhibitions, installations and performances with the theme of ‘holiday’. As part of the event the choir performed a short concert programme in conjunction with an art installation in the Students’ Association.