New Music Group of Scotland


The New Music Group of Scotland Trust was established in 1973 and consisted of leading figures in Scottish musical life. Its aim was to set up an ensemble, flexible in numbers and instrumentation, which would play music from the twentieth-century repertoire not normally heard by audiences in Scotland, and especially by contemporary Scottish composers. The players included some of the best known professional musicians working in Scotland. The group’s first concert was at the opening of the 1973 Musica Nova Festival in Glasgow. Later that year it gave a concert at Edinburgh University in honour of Luigi Dallipiccola who was receiving an Honorary Doctorate. In 1974 the Group appeared at the Edinburgh International Festival , performing an entirely Scottish programme.

The success of the first concerts was followed by frequent broadcasts on TV and radio, concert series in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and tours throughout Scotland and occasionally further afield. Programmes normally worked on the principle of integrating new Scottish music into the European and American mainstream – Bartok, Ligeti, Schoenberg, Copland, Webern and so on. Many of the Scottish works were commissioned and / or premiered by the ensemble, including those by Lyell Cresswell, Martin Dalby, David Dorward, John Mawell Geddes, Judith Weir, and several others including Edward Harper, who was also the Group’s Musical Director until his untimely death in 2009.