Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) is to pay homage to Scotland’s formidable musical heritage by launching a series of concerts called Northern Arc, partnering great traditional Scots musicians with international artists.
In the inaugural recital, they are teaming up Grammy Award-winning Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster with the North-east’s top fiddler Paul Anderson and the exuberant Old Blind Dogs to pay tribute to the legendary fiddle composer James Scott Skinner.
The Canadian fiddle star is to fly exclusively from her Nova Scotia home to Aberdeen for this one-night performance in the city’s Music Hall on Saturday, October 5.
“This is going to be a spectacular night of amazing music that people will remember for a long time to come,” said delighted APA head of programming Ben Torrie.
"Scotland, and the North-east in particular, has such a rich and diverse musical tradition, and we want to create unique opportunities to hear our great roots music in new and exciting collaborations.
“We have asked top Scottish players, starting with fiddler Paul Anderson, to choose an international artist to perform with and promised to make it happen!
“For the first of these concerts to feature an outstanding world-class musician of the calibre of Natalie MacMaster is overwhelming for us, and the fact that she is travelling all the way from Cape Breton for this one off event in Aberdeen demonstrates the influence that our music has had across the world and the excitement it still generates."
Tickets for the Northern Arc inaugural concert go on sale today (Monday) online at www.boxofficeaberdeen.com, by phone at 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.
Natalie’s three-decade career has seen her amass multiple gold albums, a Grammy Award, a Juno Award for Best Instrumental Album, eight Canadian Country Music Awards, 10 East Coast Music Awards, an honorary doctorate from St Thomas University and honorary degrees from Niagara University, NY and Trent University.
Married to fellow fiddler Donnell Leahy and a mother of five, she is a member of the Order Of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour and has been described as an electrifying performer on stage and has staged concerts all over the world.
Already something of a legend in the time-honoured fiddle tradition of Scotland, Paul Anderson is considered the finest Scots fiddler of his generation.
He has composed over 300 pieces in the Scots style; his music providing the theme tune for the film Red Rose about the life of Robert Burns and the theme music for the PBS television show Tartan TV in the USA. In 2008 he was the musical director for His Majesty's Theatre's critically-acclaimed production of Sunset Song, by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
In the same year, Paul performed at a private reception for Prince Charles at Fyvie Castle to celebrate Prince Charles’ 60th birthday and in June 2010 he performed at an 80th birthday party in Edinburgh Castle for Sir Sean Connery at the request of the Scottish Government.
Famed Scots dancing master, violinist, fiddler, and composer James Scott Skinner was born in Banchory and composed more than 600 published tunes and made more than 80 recordings.
As part of a travelling orchestra, he performed before Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace in 1858 and later, at her request, taught callisthenics and dancing to the royal household at Balmoral.
His first collection of compositions was published in 1868, and for 12 years he continued as a dancing master and violinist, giving virtuoso concerts. He toured the United States in 1893 with the celebrated bagpiper and dancer Willie MacLennan and on his return, virtually gave up dancing to concentrate solely on the fiddle.
In the early 1900s, he could not afford to publish his work and sent manuscripts to friends who copied them out and played them to create a market. Those precious scraps of paper, the backs of envelopes and hand-bills are now in museums.
Scott Skinner died in March 1927, and his marble memorial gravestone in Aberdeen was unveiled by Sir Harry Lauder.