Transforming Communities

Live Music Now and Baring Foundation's 'Late Style' Artists Commission Series

“I am delighted to be involved in this exciting new project, very much in line with my current way of working. Over the last 15-20 years I have found that my music has to reach out- whatever the style- in a dramatic or emotional way.  People then connect this to their own experiences …thus creating a communication.” Composer, John McLeod


A new work of art will be created by Live Music Now and John McLeod as part of The Baring Foundation’s “Late Style” Artists Commission Series.  The Baring Foundation has pioneered support for  a wide range of arts programmes supporting older people to enjoy and take part in the arts.  This series supports leading professional artists, all of whom are over 70, to bring their original and exceptional artistic craft and  insights to the theme of “Age”. Eleven new works will reach a variety of spaces and audiences, between 2015 and 2017. Artists include leaders in the fields of Carnival Arts, Dance and Choreography, Digital Arts, Sculpture, Wood Carving, Musical Composition, Theatre and  Poetry. 

Using LMN Scotland’s Composing with Care model, Live Music Now musicians will visit care homes in West Lothian, Scotland and Methyr Tydfill, Wales, both ex-mining communities. Musicians will deliver participatory live music concerts and gather stories, memories and contributions from the residents that John will use as inspiration to compose a new piece of music. The composition will be performed publicly by the same musicians in Summer 2015 at the Wales Millennium Centre, Howden Park Centre in West Lothian and the National Museum of Scotland as part of Edinburgh Festival. 

The project will create:

  • A unique opportunity for some of the best emerging professional musicians in the UK to work with John McLeod, one of the UK’s busiest and most experienced working composers, now in his 80th year, and older people in care, in the creation of a brand new piece of music
  • A new piece of music made through this unique collaborative process reflecting and inspired by the voice of older people, which can be performed for years to come.
  • Performances of the new piece in the care homes and in 3 high profile venues in Wales and Scotland
  • An audiovisual record featuring a performance from one of the public concerts, for public sharing

The new piece will use the theme of age as an exploration of how communities have changed and moved on from their shared mining industrial heritage. The process will use the memories of the older people as a starting point and explore with them how their lives and experiences shaped them as individuals and how that has contributed to the shape of the community today.

The source material used to inspire the piece will be gathered by professional performers on the Live Music Now scheme, as part of interactive live music sessions.

The final piece will be performed at participating care homes and  at three high profile public venues in Edinburgh and Cardiff; The National Museum in Edinburgh, Howden Park Centre, Livingston, West Lothian and the Glanfa Stage at the Wales Millennium Centre.

John McLeod

Music with colour and energy both imaginative and idiomatic”  The Times

For over 30 years the multiple-award winning John McLeod has been at the forefront of contemporary Scottish music and is still one of the UK’s busiest and most prolific composers. Born and educated in Aberdeen, he has been resident in Edinburgh since 1970. He first studied clarinet at the Royal Academy of Music, London with Jack Brymer, Reginald Kell and Gervase de Peyer, but later changed direction and became a composition pupil of Sir Lennox Berkeley. Subsequently he came under the influence of Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski whom he knew and admired. Conducting studies were undertaken with Sir Adrian Boult.

John has won important awards for his work including the prestigious Guinness Prize for British composers. In 1989 he was elected a Fellow of the RAM and in 2005 and 2010 was nominated for a British Composer Award. Renowned also as a teacher, he was Director of Music at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh for eleven years before holding Lectureships at the RSAMD, RAM and Edinburgh Napier University. Latterly he was Head of Composing for Film and TV at the London College of Music (Thames Valley University) and the Ida Carroll Research Fellow at the Royal Northern College of Music where he specialised in the works of Messiaen, Boulez and Birtwistle.

Core LMN musicians at care home and public concerts:

Scotland: Emily Mitchell & Geoffrey Tanti (soprano, piano)

Wales: Jennifer Walker and Rhiannon Pritchard (soprano, piano)

LMN musicians undertaking initial visits to care settings:

Wales: Bethan Semmens and Beatrice Newman (harp and cello)

Scotland: Traditional instrumental duo