Music students from Newcastle University will be heading up the A1 to help with Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations.

Today (30th November) is the day of St Andrew, Scotland’s patron saint, and the Newcastle musicians plan to bring a piece with an international flavour to the party.

They will be performing Rivers of our Being, an original oratorio by award-winning composer Professor Valdis Muktupavels.

The piece – which is inspired by the rivers of Europe – takes listeners on a journey across the continent, exploring different European cultural identities along the way.

Rivers of Our Being will be performed by an orchestra of 15 students from Newcastle University, who will be joined by three professional musicians, including fiddle player Imogen Bose-Ward. Imogen recently completed a degree in Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University.

The oratorio will be conducted by Dr Simon McKerrell, who is a senior lecturer in music at Newcastle University.

Dr McKerrell said, “The music combines folk melodies and traditions from around Europe and brings them inventively together for a completely original and fascinating musical portrayal of people’s relationships and cultural heritage across the major southern, eastern, western and northern rivers of Europe.”

Rivers of our Being was inspired by the work of the Scottish ethnologist Hamish Henderson, who compared traditions to a ‘carrying stream’. The piece focuses on how the rivers of Europe connect different cultures and carry people and heritages from one area to another. Europe’s rich cultural heritage is reflected by the diversity of instruments and styles used in the piece.

The piece was developed through a partnership involving Newcastle University, Herriot-Watt University, and the Latvian Academy of Culture.

The performance of Rivers of our Being in Edinburgh on St Andrew’s Day will be the piece’s Scottish premiere.

Rivers of our Being will be performed at 7.30 pm on Friday 30th November at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, on Edinburgh’s High Street.

For more information, and to book tickets, please go to

(Featured image courtesy of Vassilis, from Flickr Creative Commons.


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