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About Hebrides Ensemble

The Hebrides Ensemble has been called "one of the great glories of Scotland" by Peter Maxwell Davies. It has specialized in contemporary music and commissioned more than 70 new works, many from Scottish composers. In addition to Maxwell Davies, the composers commissioned have included Sally Beamish, John Bevan Baker, Lyell Cresswell, Hafliði Hallgrímsson, Edward Harper, Helen Grime, David Horne, Sir James MacMillan, Stuart MacRae, John McLeod, Gordon McPherson, Peter Nelson, Alasdair Nicolson, Alasdair Spratt, William Sweeney, and Martin Suckling. Premieres of these works have been given at the the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, London's King's Place, The Wigmore Hall, the Aldeburgh Festival, and the Edinburgh International Festival.

The ensemble was formed in 1991 and has performed regularly at venues and festivals around the U.K. and Europe. It has been featured in broadcasts on the BBC Radio 3 network. At the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in 2009, the Hebrides Ensemble received a nomination in the Chamber Music Category. It recorded an album of works by Cresswell in 2001 on NMC and has also recorded for the Linn and Delphian labels; on the latter imprint it released The Last Island, a program of chamber music by Maxwell Davies, in 2017. Its output has not been restricted to Scottish music; it recorded an album of works by Messiaen on Linn in 2008, and its live programs often pair traditional repertory with new works, aiming to bring new insight to both.

The Hebrides Ensemble is committed to using new media to broaden audiences for contemporary music. In 2015 the ensemble became the first professional group to simultaneously connect musicians in Edinburgh to London and Italy in real time. In 2016, its 25th anniversary, the group launched a new digital strategy that aimed to make all its performances available to audiences worldwide, using live streaming and other forms of digital technology. ~ James Manheim