Switch on for Plug composing showcase

Published: May 4, 2017


From the Master of the Queen’s Music to the next generation of composers, the Plug festival returns to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for 2017 to showcase new works from the pen of high-profile and emerging talent.

The Royal Conservatoire’s annual festival of student compositions runs from 7 until 12 May and welcomes a host of special guests including Red Note and the institution’s Visiting Professor in Composition, Judith Weir, composer to Her Majesty the Queen.

Red Note is one of the world’s leading new music ensembles. Founded in 2008, it develops, performs and presents new music within Scotland, the UK and internationally. A firm fixture in Plug, Red Note returns to perform an eclectic mix of new works.

Making its first visit to Glasgow during the Royal Conservatoire’s 170th anniversary year will be the UK Chinese Ensemble, a dedicated professional Chinese music organisation comprising leading Chinese musicians, most of whom live in Britain. It will be performing in a cross-cultural collaboration featuring duets written for Chinese traditional and Western classical instruments.

Some of Scotland’s most exciting young composers can be found at the Junior Conservatoire and their work will be showcased by Glasgow New Music Expedition in the surroundings of the Royal Conservatoire’s Ledger Recital Room.

Plug audiences can also look forward to the return of the popular Late Night Big Band concert, as the RCS Big Band returns to stage a concert of original big band favourites at the Royal Conservatoire, ranked in the world’s top three for performing arts education and number one in Scotland for graduate employability.

Highlights of Plug 2017 include:

  • Cultural Encounters of the Plug Kind: Tuesday 9 May, 7pm, Stevenson Hall.
    The UK Chinese Ensemble performs in Glasgow at an evening which includes a series of duets from doctoral composer Huan Li using Chinese traditional and Western classical instruments.
  • Late Night Big Band: Wednesday 10 May, 9pm, Stevenson Hall.
    One of last year’s Plug highlights, the RCS Big Band is back to put on a late night concert of original big band favourites.
  • Weir and Winds: Friday 12 May, 1pm, Stevenson Hall.
    Judith Weir, Visiting Professor in Composition and the first female Master of the Queen’s Music, has Scottish roots. She returns to the Royal Conservatoire with some of her works featured alongside the winners of the Walter and Dinah Wolfe Memorial Award, as chosen by Judith.
  • Closing concert: Friday 12 May, 7.30pm, Stevenson Hall.
    Plug 2017 finishes in spectacular fashion by including a work from composition student Aidan Teplitzky. How to Own the Room features five drag performers competing for the audience’s attention as the Stevenson Hall is transformed to replicate the cut-throat nightlife culture of the 1990s where to be seen was to be adored.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Plug provides an important showcase for our composers and performers and is a key moment when the RCS turns its focus to the music of right now. Our composers and performers are thrilled with the opportunity to work alongside Judith Weir, Red Note, Glasgow New Music Expedition and the UK Chinese Ensemble.

“This festival will showcase budding talent from our Junior Conservatoire as well as our senior Royal Conservatoire composers. We invite you to join us for one of the most stimulating festivals in the city and experience the highest calibre compositions performed by outstanding students and professionals at Scotland’s national conservatoire.”

Other performances include the Late Night Electroacoustic concert, which is set to include a multimedia work from this year’s winner of the prestigious Craig Armstrong prize, Alex Mackay, writing for two pianos and electronic instruments.

Glasgow New Music Expedition returns to Plug under the baton of Jessica Cottis to premiere works by composing students while the music of Judith Weir, the first female Master of the Queen’s Music, features alongside the winners of the Walter and Dinah Wolfe Memorial Award.

Plug 2017 finishes in spectacular fashion as Leverhulme Conducting Fellows Jiří Rožeň and Simon Proust take the baton for a programme of new works for wind, brass and percussion.

Tickets for Plug 2017 are on sale now at our Box Office.