Project information

Scottish Ensemble US Tour

The UK's only professional string orchestra and proud ambassadors of Scotland will be sharing Scotland’s rich cultural musical heritage with American audiences during a three week tour of the USA, including concerts in New York, Chicago and Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles, with trumpeter Alison Balsom

April 2013 - April 2013

Charity information

Scottish Ensemble

Scottish Ensemble logo
  • Need


    Scotland's musical and cultural life has never been stronger, and deserves to be recognised across the globe.

    As the UK's only professional string orchestra, we are committed to supporting and growing the audience for the rich heritage of British string music at home and abroad.

    To maintain SE's standing as one of the world's leading music ensembles, it is necessary to maintain an international profile and presence through regular touring.


    The Scottish Ensemble is one of Scotland's greatest cultural assets, and proud ambassadors for Scotland. We’ll be bringing SE’s 2011 co-commission by James MacMillan, Seraph, to the USA representing the modern face of Scottish music-making. In celebration of traditional Scottish music, SE will be hosting ceilidhs in major US cities.

    SE will be performing at major venues such as Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles and in New York, Chicago and in the University of Michigan's concert series.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To increase the audience in the USA for contemporary classical music from Scotland


    » Attract audiences by involving composer James MacMillan and trumpeter Alison Balsom, two of the most famous names in British classical music.
    » Perform at venues across the country, from major concert halls in large cities, to smaller venues in towns not on a convential touring circuit.

    Successful performances, measured by audience and media feedback, will offer US audiences new perspectives on music in Scotland encouraging further exploration and engagement.

    Aim 2

    To raise the international profile of the Scottish Ensemble.


    » Perform at least 11 concerts across the USA bringing the energetic, inspiring and challenging performances that SE is famous for to American audiences

    Success will be demonstrated by an increase in invitations to tour abroad and an increase in online engagment from people in countries outside the UK.

  • Impact


    Increasing international touring opportunities, with performances at major international venues, enhances the experiences of SE's musicians, in turn enriching SE concerts at home in Scotland.

    Gaining further invitations to perform internationally, with SE acting as proud ambassadors for the amazing vibrancy of Scotland's cultural life, will further enhance Scotland's reputation globally as a major creative hub.


    The USA is a new market for the Ensemble without an existing audience base from which to attract attenders at concerts.

    We have therfore engaged the services of an experienced agent based in the USA, utilising their local knowledge and expertise and their contacts at venues to ensure maximum profile for SE's tour. This strategy has resulted in 11 engagements in 7 different states, with established promoters booking the Ensemble into their existing series, which guarantees local audiences.


    As a thank you, all Big Give donors will receive a personal postcard from the Ensemble during the tour!

    Detailed reports will be supplied to major donors post-tour, with tour updates distributed to all supporters through a variety of media, such as newsletters, facebook and twitter.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £250,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £115,000 Artistic costs Fees and subsistence for the 15 players of the Scottish Ensemble plus Alison Balsom
      £54,000 Travel Trans-atlantic and internal US flights, coach hire
      £13,000 Accommodation Accommodation for 15 players, SE staff and Alison Balson
      £35,000 Tour management US based tour management and promotion
      £20,500 Logistical costs Music and instrument hire, rehearsal venue hire, PR, Marketing, insurance, visas, hedging and tax
      £12,500 Contingency Contingency for the tour

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Fees £170,000 Guaranteed
    Creative Scotland Grant £50,000 Guaranteed
    Michael Marks Charitable Trust Award £10,000 Guaranteed
    Big Give Campaign £20,000 Conditional
  • Background


    SE will perform in:
    Santa Barbara, California;
    San Diego, California;
    Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles;
    Manhattan, Kansas;
    Gainesville, Florida;
    The Town Hall, New York City;
    Austin, Texas;
    Urbana, Illinois;
    Chicago, Illinois;
    Ann Arbor, Michigan


    American audiences in the towns that we will visit will have the opportunity to experience Seraph, a major new work by a composer of international standing performanced by world-class musicians.

    At home, the experiences that the individual players of the tight-knit Scottish Ensemble will gain will enrich performances here in the UK.

    The added profile of this major tour will also help the Scottish Ensemble to secure its furture through increased international engagements.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    During the 11/12 season, the Ensemble had successful tours to Belgium, Austria, Turkey and China flying the flag for Scotland in these countries.

    Built on a core of 12 players, SE is a highly 'portable' ensemble, able to travel widely while incurring minimum logistical costs.

    A Creative Scotland Foundation Organisation, SE is a valuable cultural asset for Scotland and our powerful, challenging and inspiring performances are a modern representation of musical life in Scotland today.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jonathan Morton

    Jonathan's innovative programming and powerful performances as leader of SE have carved SE's reputation as one of the world's leading ensembles

    Alison Balsom

    Twice named 'Female Artist of the Year' at the Classic BRITs, Alison's recordings featuring SE have been best-sellers for EMI.

Young audience member, Edinburgh

I left the Queen's Hall feeling inspired to play violin for every second of my life!