New commission ‘Ballantyne’ to be featured at An Lanntair

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Scottish composer Craig Armstrong is best known for his film work such as Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby alongside his classical works and solo albums, but his interest in the Gaelic Psalm tradition has now led to the creation of a very special new piece of work which will be premiered in An Lanntair this August.

The piece of music, entitled Ballantyne, is a collaboration with local musician and composer Calum Martin, and will close a concert celebrating the spiritual music of the Islands.

The evening will also feature members of the Scottish Ensemble, local cellist – and former member of the Ensemble - Neil Johnstone, Highland fiddle player Duncan Chisholm and a host of psalm singers from throughout Lewis and Harris.

Calum Martin said: “Having previously worked with Craig and The Scottish Ensemble on a commission for the Ryder Cup in 2014 called ‘Martyrdom Variations’ it is indeed an honour and a pleasure to be working with him once again.

“I have always believed that the key to maintaining any music tradition is the inclusion of a mix of both young and old, and at a time when the established traditional churches are turning their back on this precious musical heritage I am delighted that sufficient people are still interested and willing to help in trying to keep our Gaelic Spiritual Music alive.

“We acknowledge that this is firstly and fore mostly a spiritual vocal tradition but it is also a unique Scottish Art Form, which deserves to be nurtured and preserved.”

In preparation for the performance Calum Martin also undertook a series of psalm singing workshops in conjunction with An Lanntair, and to continue the process, the first ever Gaelic Psalm Summer School is due to take place this July in Stornoway.

For those musicians and singers who are interested in learning about this unique musical form, a week long summer school will open its doors for the first time this summer on the Isle of Lewis.

Tickets for the summer school are still available at: website

The project has been created as part of Bealach, An Lanntair’s Creative Places Award winning Project.

The Ballantyne concert can be heard in An Lanntair on Saturday 27 August at 8pm and tickets are on sale now: here or call 01851708480.

Pictured is composer Craig Amstrong