Scottish Ensemble to Tour Scotland with New Musical Experience in Breathe

This October, Scottish Ensemble (SE) presents Breathe, a guided, deep listening event that provides audiences with a new and unusual classical music experience. Putting audiences up close with SE musicians, both groups can explore how they feel when in a live concert.

This focused, intimate, and mindful listening experience comes off the back of SE’s long-standing collaboration with Maggie’s Centres, a charity supporting people dealing with cancer. Together they have developed sessions that promote a new way of listening, including listening more deeply and looking at how mindfulness techniques can help to channel the power of music to help alleviate pain and anxiety.

Led by Guest Director Tristan Gurney, and conceived and curated by SE viola player Andrew Berridge, the performers will move in between and during pieces from, among others, Beethoven, Caroline Shaw, Daniel Kidane, Donald Grant, to enable the audience to get different perspectives on the sound. Live music is and always has been a collaborative, shared experience, and Breathe is designed to help audiences understand how the performers are feeling and influenced by the interaction with an audience.

SE violist Andrew Berridge has curated the concert and will guide audiences through it as the performance travels through intricate and contrasting music written for strings. Designed to calm overactive minds and help people experiment with what feels comfortable and uncomfortable, live feedback from the audience plays an integral role in the experience, as they will be asked for their thoughts at several points during the performance and see how hearing other people’s experiences changes how they listen and changes the musician’s perspectives too.

Audiences will get an understanding of the buzz performers get when playing to a crowd and, rather than just communicating through a final bow, performers will spend time meeting the audience after the performance too.

Breathe is part of a wider series of work by SE which also features the soon-to-be-released Breathe for Schools, a bite-sized video series to be enjoyed by teachers and their classes across Scotland and beyond to help create a few moments for reflection and calm in a busy school day.

Guest Curator and SE violist Andrew Berridge said “During the last few years we’ve been expanding our work with Maggie’s cancer support centres, taking live performances to small mindfulness groups and using music both as a tool for therapy and to provoke a conversation about how it can make us feel on a fundamental level. These sessions have been so richly rewarding for both our musicians and the participants that we wanted to bring this experience to the concert hall, to share our gratitude for the unique energy that live performance brings. Breathe is a blend of meditative listening techniques and an exploration of how we can let the music in more fully; relishing texture and resonance while the Ensemble literally surrounds the audience with music.”

Tickets are available from


Irene Brown

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