How to watch live classical music without leaving the house

How to watch live classical music from your sofa

Nevis Ensemble / credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Here's what Scottish organisations, including the RSNO and Nevis Ensemble, are doing to keep the music going

While some of the major international players in the classical music world have turned to their libraries of recorded performances to keep their presence felt during worldwide lockdown, music organisations in Scotland have been busy working out what new material they can offer audiences watching and listening in their own homes instead of the concert hall.

Quick off the mark was Chamber Music Scotland and their CMS Home Concert series. 'This is new to us and brings a different sort of relationship between the musicians and the audience,' says the organisation's Chief Executive, Paul Tracey. 'I don't think anything can be the same as a live concert, but there is still an intimacy and a sense of community.' Artists perform in their own space, with the first concert featuring clarsach player Ailie Robertson drawing an appreciative audience from a range of different countries, not just Scotland. 'Ailie really enjoyed the experience,' he says, 'even though it was a strange experience playing to a camera and not having applause. But there were some really nice comments. It's also about supporting freelancers, the people who deliver the work.'

A bit different is Nevis Ensemble, who invite anyone and everyone to take part in the Nevis Living Room Ensemble, either by playing instruments or singing. All that's required is your instrument and your phone. Pieces will change as the weeks go on, but first up is a Nevis favourite, the Proclaimers and 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)'. Join in at

Known for innovative live work, Red Note Ensemble are just as inventive online. Noisy Nights, a popular concept where new pieces of music are played from scratch, now goes digital. Four concerts will each feature five new pieces from five composers for solo instrument.

Live Music Now Scotland, which works with audiences who rarely, if ever, experience live music is launching Together at Home, a series of specially commissioned video recordings designed for older people in care homes and pre-school/primary age children, as well as the general public. The organisation's exceptionally talented young professionals have welcomed the opportunity for paid work at a time when concerts are all cancelled, recording digitally in their own homes. Follow Live Music Now Scotland on Twitter for announcements and further information.

Also in the living room is top notch baroque ensemble, the Dunedin Consort, who have a wealth of videos from past performances. Additionally, there's a series of Q&As with musicians, including inimitable Artistic Director, John Butt, as well as inaugurating #HowIPractise, giving insights into how professional musicians work at producing the polished sounds of performance. It's designed to inspire audience members to do likewise and send in their own results. Find out more on Dunedin's Facebook page.

Participation is where it's at with the RSNO. Every Wednesday, RSNO musicians will issue a family-friendly challenge to keep children (and grown-ups) entertained and making music in their own homes. Designed with learning in mind, children are encouraged to think creatively and explore sounds in ways that they might not have thought about before. Bill Chandler, Director of Concerts and Engagement, says, 'We want to take kids and grown-ups across Scotland with us as we explore the music in our own home surroundings and really think creatively about how we make music and the power it can have to lift our spirits.' Follow live on Wednesdays at 10.30am through the RSNO Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube channels.

The RSNO have also just launched #RSNOFridaynightclub. Audiences will be able to tune-in to concerts on the RSNO's Facebook and YouTube channels starting from Fri 27 Mar to watch a pre-recorded concert at 7.30pm. The first performance will be Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, which was recorded last month in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

'Music can provide a sense of calm at a difficult time,' says Paul Tracey of CMS. Seems like it's also going to provide a bit of fun.

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