We are proud to be part of the Scottish Classical Sustainability Group (SCSG), made up of over 30 members, including large symphony orchestras, small ensembles, festivals and individual musicians from across Scotland. Collectively we are working together towards net-zero emissions and a more sustainable future in the classical music sector. As part of the SCSG, we believe cultural organisations can play a key role in moving towards a net-zero future. We can lead the way for change across society as well as influence, inform and communicate with our audiences and those we engage with.
We are delighted to have helped contribute to the Scottish Classical Music Green Guide, available here. And below are a couple of the projects we have been working on as part of our commitment to the environment and raising awareness of our impact on it.
Since 2020 we, like many other music organisations, have pivoted online, supporting our sustainable ambitions while also allowing us to continue reaching thousands of vulnerable people across Scotland in spite of pandemic restrictions. While streamed, online and in person concerts continue to play a very important role in what we do, our most recent online project is a brand-new documentary film, the culmination of our City Sounds of Nature project, which takes our digital offering to a whole new level. Filmed in three Edinburgh care homes and with funding support from OneCity Trust, the documentary film showcases two new songs composed by singer-songwriter Karine Polwart which are inspired by care home residents’ memories of the natural world.
A few years ago, we were fortunate to receive a grant from Tasgadh, the Traditional Arts Small Grants Fund, for ‘Going Home’, a project which invited musicians to return to their roots. The project allowed the artists to rediscover the communities, heritage and culture which shaped the foundations of their performing practice.
Our aim at Live Music Now Scotland is to work in every local authority area in Scotland each year. Needless to say, some of these areas are more accessible than others. For a musician based in Glasgow, it isn’t difficult to jump on a train to Edinburgh (the Borders would be quite difficult!) Perth, or even Inverness to do a few workshops or performances and still be home in time for dinner. It can be harder, however, for us to programme concerts in the far north and island regions when travel is expensive, musicians need accommodation when they get there — and as we discovered in 2018 with the Beast from the East, the effects of climate change on our weather can sometimes mean a performer may find themselves stranded on the wrong side of the sea!
Fortunately, these rural and island areas are a hotbed of musical talent and we are fortunate to have a number of traditional musicians on our books from the farthest-flung parts of Scotland. It’s out of that knowledge that the idea of ‘Going Home’ was born.
The musicians we work with tend to be living and building their careers in the Central Belt (the area with the highest population density, roughly between Edinburgh and Glasgow) due to the necessity of being within easy reach of performance and study opportunities, especially in Glasgow. Yet their musical influences often stem from where they grew up. The Going Home grant gave three of our groups the chance to visit the areas where they grew up and give back to the communities which nurtured, educated and encouraged them by performing in a variety of community settings.