15 May 2017

Press Release – The Tower

‘The Tower’ by Abigail Sinar – New Commission by Drake Music Scotland

Performance at Haddo House, Tuesday 6th June 2017 12.45pm

An exciting new piece ‘The Tower’ by Abigail Sinar will be performed at Haddo House on Tuesday 6th June 2017. The commission was devised by Drake Music Scotland’s Artistic Director Pete Sparkes with Abigail Sinar, who is based in the north-east and is also a Drake Music Scotland Associate Musician.

‘The Tower’ was composed with the intention of adding to the repertoire of inclusive music for the accessible technologies used by pupils with disabilities taking part in DMS projects. These alternative instruments – such as iPads with the ‘Thumbjam’ music app and the amazing Soundbeam – are designed to make it possible for those with disabilities to play and perform on an equal footing with their peers, who are in this instance musicians from Sharon Hassan’s highly regarded North East Folk Collective on fiddles, pipes, whistle, guitar, cajon and accordion. Sharon has also worked with Drake Music Scotland on their musical partnership with Aberdeenshire’s special schools for a number of years. The partnership with Aberdeenshire’s Music Service has made it possible to involve pupils from the area’s special schools in regular music activities and an annual concert each year since 2014.

The inspiration for the piece is Kinnaird Head Castle in Fraserburgh and its Wine Tower, with the famous ‘Piper’s Cave’ below, the scene of a well-known local story. “The folklore associated with the site includes the famous tale of a piper who drowned after being imprisoned by a lord who was angry at him for falling in love with his daughter. Legend has it that in the Piper’s Cave, as it is known, the piper can still be heard playing while he searches for his lost love,” recalls Abi.

“Sir Alexander Fraser had a daughter called Isobel who he didn’t let mix with local people. When her father was away on business she took in a stranger, a piper, who was seeking shelter from a snowstorm. They got to talking late into the night and when he left in the morning, they knew they had fallen in love. They would meet in secret, but unfortunately Sir Alexander found out and forbade them to meet. The couple arranged another tryst but Sir Alexander chained the piper in a cave below the Tower. Unfortunately a storm swept the sea into the cave, drowning her lover… The cave thereafter became known as The Piper’s Cave and legend says that he can still be heard playing for Isobel whenever a storm gathers.”

The project is designed to involve all pupils allowing each player to have some creative input. “Each of the schools we are working with on this project has an iconic local castle, four of which are right on the coast, so hopefully the story resonates in some way with all the participants,” Abi explains. The story is both the inspiration and structural basis for the piece, with each school performing one movement based on a unique part of the story, exploring a different mood or emotion such as: ‘A Castle by the Sea’, ‘The Bonny Lass o’ the Broch’, ‘Sir Fraser’s Return’, ‘Stormy Waters’, and ‘The Piper’s Lament’. The final part ‘Where the Lighthouse Stands’ is a more modern and upbeat piece, bringing the story up to the current day where the castle has now been turned into Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, with the original Wine Tower still standing in the grounds.

Drake Music Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council’s Music Service acknowledge the support of Creative Scotland’s Youth Music Initiative and also receives Creative Scotland Regular Funding. Its schools programme is also supported by the Henry Duncan Awards, The Rayne Foundation and The Robertson Trust.



Editor’s Notes


Abigail Sinar

Abigail is a composer, violinist and community musician. She has worked extensively across Scotland, delivering community, education and composition projects for many local authorities and national organisations, including Drake Music Scotland and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In all her work, she is particularly interested in overcoming barriers to make musical experiences accessible to everyone. As a composer Abigail writes for small orchestral ensembles and children’s theatre productions, with recent commissions for Frozen Charlotte, Aberdeen Performing Arts and most notably, as composer and co-creator for Starcatchers and the RSNO’s ‘Hup’, a classical musical experience for 0 – 2 year olds which has received acclaim both nationally and internationally.


Drake Music Scotland

Drake Music Scotland was founded in 1997 and this year will celebrate its 20th anniversary as the nation’s leading organisation creating music making opportunities for disabled musicians of all ages. Since it was founded it has supported around 10,000 children and adults to play, learn, compose and perform music through a wide-ranging artistic programme using a unique blend of specialised technologies that give access to playing an instrument for those with restricted movement and Figurenotes. Figurenotes is a colour and shape-based notation system that makes it easy to learn to read music, and is used by music teachers around the world. A recipient of Creative Scotland Regular funding, Drake Music Scotland’s work is also supported by the Youth Music Initiative and other funders, working in collaboration with local educations authorities, instrumental music services, other national music and arts organisations and festivals such as Sir James MacMillan’s Cumnock Tryst.


For more information contact:

Emma Lines, Senior Programme Manager at Drake Music Scotland, 11 Harewood Road, Edinburgh EH16 4NT

Tel: 0131 659 4766

Email: emmalines@drakemusicscotland.org

Website: www.drakemusicscotland.org


More information about Figurenotes can be found at: http://www.figurenotes.org