Commissioning & promoting new Scottish Chamber Music.

Commissioning and public performance of new Scottish Chamber Music

Sir John Blackwood McEwen (1868 - 1948)

Sir John Blackwood McEwen (1868 - 1948) © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Edinburgh Quartet perform Slanting Rain by Alasdair Nicolson the McEwen Commission for 2015

The Edinburgh Quartet perform Alasdair Nicolson's Slanting Rain (2015)

Quartet for strings: 2 violins, viola and cello, in C minor. May 1928. Score, 37 autograph manuscript

Autograph score of McEwen's Quartet for strings in C minor, May 1928

The Ixion Ensemble 2014, Yann Ghiro, Duncan Strachan and Simon Smith

The Ixion ensemble (2014), L to R: Duncan Strachan, Simon Smith and Yann Ghiro

The Tristia II ensemble following the performance with composer Hafliði Hallgrímsson and conductor William Sweeney.

The 2013 ensemble with composer Hafliði Hallgrímsson and conductor Bill Sweeney.

Renowned composer, teacher and University of Glasgow graduate Sir John Blackwood McEwen bequeathed the residue of his estate to the University to help promote the performance of Scottish chamber music.

Since the bequest, a rich catalogue of new Scottish music by the likes of Sally Beamish, James MacMillan, Thea Musgrave, Eddie McGuire, Helen Grime, John Maxwell Geddes, Ailie Robertson, John Lunn and John Purser has been commissioned and premiered at the University.


Award-winning composer and harpist Ailie Robertson is the recipient of the McEwen Commission for 2022 and will compose a song cycle for trio (flute, harp and voice) setting the poetry of Marion Angus.

The premiere of the new work will be held on Thursday 24th March in the University Concert Hall.

Decorative design element

Listen to… the 2020 McEwen Commission - David Horne's Reflecting Instruments