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2019 is the 40th anniversary of The Queen’s Hall and the 20th anniversary of Martyn Bennett’s final, and some would say best, piece. 

Mackay’s Memoirs, a composition for pipes, clarsach and orchestra, was written for the students of The City of Edinburgh Music School in honour of the late Dr Kenneth A Mackay of Badenoch.

A beautiful piece that was first performed in 1999 at the opening of the Scottish Parliament, it was then recorded the morning after Martyn’s death in 2005 by students from the music school who were unaware that Martyn had passed away until the recording was completed.

This unique and very special concert brings together four alumni who performed the original piece – Maeve Gilchrist (clarsach), Pipe Major Ben Duncan (pipes), Dave Lloyd (beats and loops) and Lissa Robertson (vocals and keys) – along with The City of Edinburgh Music School Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Susan Emslie, who collaborated closely with Martyn on the composition twenty years ago.

Tudor Morris, Director of the City of Edinburgh Music School said :  “I am truly delighted to be welcoming back former students who are making musical waves across the globe to share this special occasion with us, and to remember and honour Martyn Bennett – who has inspired us all. It will be an emotional evening for everyone – and a proud one!

”The concert will include new arrangements of Beatles songs, solo performances from current school students, including the world premiere of a jazz piano composition, a clarsach quartet written for the occasion and a new version of Imogen Heap’s Hide & Seek. The culmination will be a full performance of Mackay’s Memoirs (13 minutes) accompanied by Neil Kempsell’s award-winning animation, especially created as a companion piece for Martyn’s work and performed to live music for the first time tonight.

Writing at the time, Martyn said of Mackay’s Memoirs:  “I hope that most of all this is an apt celebration of youth that will see our heritage firmly united for generations to come.” 

Perhaps he would be in agreement that with these students, Scotland’s musical heritage is in very safe hands.

This performance is part of The Queen’s Hall’s Creative Learning and Community Programme, offering students the opportunity of performing in a professional concert hall.

Supported by The Tay Trust.

Tickets for Homecoming 2: The Return of Mackay’s Memoirs, on Mon 4 March, 7.30pm are available now from The Queen’s Hall: / 0131 668 2019, £6-£14.