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Full details of the Scottish Ensemble’s Mini Residency in Shetland (31 July – 3 August) have now been released and all events are now on sale and open to the public to book or register interest.

The residency kicks off with Faust with the Scottish Ensemble & DJ Alex Smoke on Wednesday 31 July at Mareel. Murnau's 1926 expressionist silent film, Faust, tells the classic cautionary tale of the deadly consequences of entering into deals with the devil. Paying homage to the musical accompaniments of the silent film era, DJ Alex Smoke has created a 21st century soundtrack for electronics and strings, bringing this dark, creepy, and fantastical film to life. Lauded by the house and techno communities, Alex’s sets blur the boundaries between electronica, classical and hip hop and have led him to appear across the globe, including at the prestigious Sonar Festival in Barcelona. The Ensemble also provides the perfect string accompaniment to this classic film.



Thursday 1 August will see the Ensemble go Out & About in Shetland: they will be coming to Brae, Lerwick and the South Mainland to give short performances and meet local musicians. If you are a string player and interested in working with members of Scotland’s only professional string orchestra, then you are encouraged to come along and play. The coaching sessions will involve preparation for a ‘performance in a secret location’ and only those who turn up will have the chance to learn where and what this is! Players of all standards are welcome (as long as you have a little experience of reading music) and this unique opportunity to work with the country’s top string players is not to be missed! Parts for the music involved are available in advance by contacting Shetland Arts on 01595 743843 or emailing Players with a range of abilities are welcome (as long as you have a little experience of reading music and are around ABRSM grade 4). The Scottish Ensemble musicians will be there to help with any tricky passages and to lead the rehearsals, which will be fun and relaxed.

The session will take place on Thursday 1 August at Busta House (Brae), Mareel (Lerwick) and at a South Mainland venue TBC from 4-6pm and will be followed by a short informal performance by Ensemble musicians at 6pm which will be free and open to the public. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Shetland Arts on 01595 743843 or email The secret location performance will take place on Friday 2 August at about 6pm with a rehearsal from 5pm and the majority of participants should also be available to travel to Lerwick to take part in this. However, if you are still keen to join us, then exceptions may be made.

On Friday 2 August, 2-4pm, the Scottish Ensemble takes up the role of palm court orchestra for an afternoon of ballroom classics, dancing, and tea. You are invited to choose your partners and dance to favourites from a golden age performed by the UK's only professional string orchestra, while enjoying delicious afternoon tea. Someone will be on hand to help you learn the moves if you're unsure! Ticket price includes afternoon tea

Shetland Arts Marketing Officer, Lisa Ward, said: “It is recommended that people of all ages undertake some physical activity on a regular basis. The potential benefits of regular activity can include improved coordination, mobility, mental health, and overall physical fitness, which can help decrease the risk of some health problems later in life. The Tea Dance is a great opportunity to get active with some beautiful music and delicious afternoon tea! We welcome people of all ages, shapes, sizes, levels of physical activity, and dance experience to come along and join in.”

SE Tea

Tea Dance

The Mini Residency culminates in a spectacular concert at Mareel on Saturday 3 August. The programme for the concert aims to create new connections between folk and classical traditions, interweaving Scots folk with baroque and 20th century string music. The Scottish Ensemble will team up with folk super-duo Shetlander Chris Stout (fiddle) and Catriona McKay (Scottish harp), for a programme centring on two double concertos. This first describes a sea journey from Dundee to Shetland in Seavaigers, composed by Sally Beamish specifically for this combination of performers. In Bach’s instantly recognisable Concerto for 2 Violins, Chris Stout and Catriona McKay join the individual virtuosi of the Scottish Ensemble in a fresh take on core string repertoire.


Chris Stout & Catriona McKay. Photo by Donald Macleod.

All ticketed events can be booked via Shetland Box Office in Mareel & Islesburgh, over the phone on 01595 745 555, and online at and If you are interested in taking part in the Out & About Day, please contact Shetland Arts on 01595 743 843 or email

The project is sponsored by Inksters Solicitors, owned by Shetlander Brian Inkster. Brian said: “After hearing the premier of Seavaigers at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in 2012 I thought it was appropriate for the piece to be performed in Shetland. My law firm, Inksters, has a strong Shetland connection with us doing legal work for many Shetlanders from Glasgow. I am delighted to strengthen that link and help take Scottish Ensemble to Shetland to perform Seavaigers with Chris and Catriona."

The Ensemble has been awarded a New Arts Sponsorship grant to support its work during the Shetland residency. The grants provide match funding for new arts sponsors, doubling their sponsorship benefits. The scheme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Arts and Business Scotland. David Watt, Chief Executive, Arts and Business Scotland said: “Inksters Solicitors’ sponsorship of the Scottish Ensemble clearly demonstrates how business can really benefit from associating with the arts. The New Arts Sponsorship grant also recognises how this partnership has empowered the Scottish Ensemble to create an innovative programme of activities that will engage with a wide variety of audiences during their residency in Shetland.”


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