Scottish Voices

Welcome to Scottish Voices!

Scottish Voices is a chamber music ensemble (pictured below), based in Glasgow, Scotland (pictured above), directed by composer Graham Hair.

Doing What We Do…..The photo above was taken during the Scottish Voices rehearsal on May 28, 2021, in the Renfield Centre on Bath Street in Glasgow. The performers in the photo are (from left to right): Simon Bird (trumpet obbligato), Toni James (piano), Sharron Griffiths (harp), director Graham Hair, Alison McNeill (soprano), Frances Morrison-Allen (soprano) and Laura Margaret Smith (mezzo-soprano). 

[* Footnote to funding bodies: this website also serves as Graham Hair’s personal site (details under “Personnel/Director and Co-director”  drop-down menu, under which “Director: Detailed CV” is a sub-menu ); to go to this sub-menu – Click here]

What We Do…..Scottish Voices is a chamber music ensemble, which performs and records music from the Western Classical Tradition: like a string quartet, but constituted of voices, not instruments. However, we often combine forces with various instrumentalists, and some of the instrumentalists who collaborate with us contribute instrumental solo items to our performances and recordings. We are not a choir either (we sing with one voice to a part), although we sometimes combine forces with choirs. The majority of Scottish Voices performers are women. Most of our repertoire is contemporary, ie from the 21st century, although from time to time we also perform music from earlier eras: not excluding the 20th century, and some popular, traditional, “roots” and “multi-cultural” musics, from various parts of the world and in many different languages.

See also the pages following about …….

  • What We’ve Done (Our History) — Click here.
  • Why We Do What We Do (Our “Mission Statement”) — Click here.
  • Our Aims & Objectives : Finding Roots, Connecting Generations, Healing Divisions, Sharing Cultures, Crossing Musical Frontiers — Click here.
  • Details of a Plethora of Projects, Past, Present and Future, including concerts, recordings, scores, articles (etc!)

What We’ve Done…..Scottish Voices started in 1991 as a trio of women vocal soloists (Alice Dumas, Amanda Morrison and Taylor Wilson) with Graham Hair as accompanist. Over the years it has slowly evolved into something like a co-operative, involving three generations of singers (35 sopranos and mezzos over the 30-year period), and recent performances and recordings have involved collaborations with male singers as well. The singers have been accompanied by several pianists, organists, harpists, vibraphonists and instrumental duos, as well as, on a few occasions, string quartet, ensemble or orchestra.  The ensemble is based in Glasgow, but also performs in other Scottish venues, eg Edinburgh, Stirling and Aberdeen.

Doing What We Do…..The photo above was taken in September 2022 at rehearsal for the launch of a Scottish Voices album/CD of works by Alexander Kastalsky and Roger Sessions performed by Scottish Voices and members of the choir Russkaya Cappella. The members of the choir (the quartet on the left) were George Lapshynov (counter-tenor), Caz Cockburn (alto), Susan Sheldon and Ashley Holdsworth (sopranos). The members of Scottish Voices (the quartet on the right) were Taylor Wilson and Lynn Bellamy (mezzo-sopranos), and Alena Bulateskaya and Rachel Thomas (sopranos). The programme also featured new works to texts in the Gaelic language by several contemporary Gaelic poets, set to music by several contemporary Scottish composers.

Doing What We Do…..The photo above was taken after the Scottish Voices recital on April 14, 2019, in the Old South Church on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachussetts, in the United States. The performers in the photo are (from left to right): Anne Lewis (mezzo-soprano), Yelena Beriyeva (pianist), Laura Margaret Smith (mezzo-soprano), Myrna Tennant (soprano), Jacqueline Pollauf (harpist) and Alison McNeill (soprano). 

On tour in downtown Boston, United States: Laura Margaret Smith, Myrna Tennant, Alison McNeill and Anne Lewis.

…..and the photos below show 3 other different incarnations of Scottish Voices

SV with harp in Belmonte

Doing What We Do…..Scottish Voices quartet on tour in Portugal (in Belmonte, outside the School of Music, after its morning rehearsal there, and before its concert in the Igreja de Santiago, on Friday evening, September 20, 2019). From left to right: Myrna Tennant, Frances Morrison-Allen, Graham Hair, Emma Versteeg, Taylor Wilson and harpist Sharron Griffiths.

Doing What We Do…..Lucy Anderson, Lynn Bellamy, Grace Wain, Dorcas Owen and Frances Morrison-Allen, with pianist Anne Robertson, after their performance in the Museu José Malhoa in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal in July, 2018.

Doing What We Do…..Soprano Myrna Tennant (left) and mezzo-soprano Laura Margaret Smith (right), with pianist Lauryna Sableviciute (centre), outside St John’s Renfield church, Kelvindale, Glasgow on October 24, 2021, during preparation for their recorded performance of duets for soprano and mezzo-soprano with piano accompaniment by Mendelssohn (op 63) and Brahms (opp 20 and 61).

More on What We Do….. Scottish Voices records for the Ravello label in the United States, and will visit the States for the fourth time in June 2023.  The ensemble has also made five visits to the Animusic Congress in Portugal (Braga in 2014, Tavira in 2015, Porto in 2017, Caldas da Rainha in 2018 and Belmonte in 2019), as well as other trips to sing in New Zealand and in Cyprus. Recordings for the Australian label Tall Poppies and the UK label Nimbus are also in the pipeline.

Our most recent (2018 and 2019) recorded tracks have included director Graham Hair’s pieces Lament for Hagia Sophia (SSAATTBB and electro-acoustic sound), and O Venezia, part 2 (SSAA and harp), and American composer Bruce Mahin’s Melancholy Sonnet (SSAA and vibraphone). Over the years, thanks to assistance from native speakers of other languages in the Glasgow area, Scottish Voices has sung in nearly 20 languages including (material already recorded) Latin, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, Russian and English, and (material in the pipeline) Dutch, Czech, Romanian, Portuguese, Galician, Gaelic, Turkish, Persian and Swahili: not to mention languages as ancient as Sanskrit, Aramaic, Classical Arabic and Hebrew, and works (mostly contemporary) to wordless syllables or phonetic text.

Doing What We Do…..A cohort of the youngest generation of Scottish Voices singers (left to right): Sally Carr, Rachel Thomas, Lynn Bellamy, Ruth Kiang, Ted Black, Pedro Ometto, Will Frost and Liam Bonthrone), following the recording for the American CD label Ravello of director Graham Hair’s Lament for Hagia Sophia (8 voices and electro-acoustic sound) in the Memorial Chapel of Glasgow University in April 2018, with sound-recordist Tim Cooper (extreme left) and director Graham Hair (extreme right).