Interview: artist Toby Paterson on his new collaboration with the Scottish Ensemble
Twentieth Century Perspectives: City Spaces and Strings will create an immersive sound environment
Art, architecture and contemporary music, all in a secret Glasgow location – the opening event in the Scottish Ensemble’s new season is far from a conventional classical concert. Cooked up by Glasgow-born artist Toby Paterson alongside the 12-strong string group’s artistic director, violinist Jonathan Morton, it plays for just two nights (12 & 13 September) in what’s been termed ‘a Glasgow modernist landmark, in a space not normally accessible to the general public’, whose exact location will be revealed just a couple of weeks before the event.
Paterson will create an immersive environment especially for the event, reflecting both the architecture of the surrounding building and the music being played, which ranges from works by Elgar, Prokofiev and Britten through to more experimental music by Xenakis and Tüür, and which will be performed in three different locations in the mystery venue. Paterson will also create new visual works to complement the environment, as well as designing a pop-up bar and audience seating.
‘I think there’s the potential for the event to be more than the sum of its parts,’ says Paterson, ‘whether the audience approaches it from musical, visual art or even architectural perspectives. There isn’t a set of precise meanings to be teased out in doing this: we’re experimenting with a series of forms, spaces, ideas, histories and, most of all, sounds.’
‘How people arrive at the site,’ he continues, ‘and make their way through the various spaces, how they feel during the performance, how they exit under changed light conditions, all these things will combine to suggest the richness of the frequently overlooked cultural and physical landscapes that surround us. We’re really just indulging in a little musical and spatial alchemy with a view to providing a thrilling and unexpected experience for the audience.’
20th Century Perspectives: City Spaces & Strings, Fri 12 & Sat 13 Sep, venue to be announced, scottishensemble.co.uk