Burns Night at Ulster Hall

The Ulster Orchestra and the Ulster-Scots Agency came together last night at Ye Banks and Braes – a special Burns Night celebration off all things Scottish at the Ulster Hall. I attended,following a Reception at the Ulster-Scots Agency, with my friend Professor Wesley Hutchinson of the Sorbonne in Paris.

The unique collaboration brought together musicians from the Ulster-Scots and Classical traditions to celebrate Scotland’s National Poet, including Eddi Reader, the leading Scottish exponant of the songs of Rabbie Burns.  A passionate voice for the works of Scotland’s ‘Bard’, she first recorded an album of his songs with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2003. 

Looking forward to the concert, Declan McGovern, the Ulster Orchestra’s Chief Executive said, “We perform live in front of over 100,000 people each year with performers as diverse and as famous as the Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band to international soprano, Dame te Kanawa.

“This special collaboration with the Ulster-Scots Agency is a must for everyone who loves the songs and poetry of Robert Burns. It is also a great opportunity to experience Northern Ireland’s only professional symphony orchestra in a very different setting from its regular classical concerts.”

The evening also brought together leading local musicians including champion piper Robert Watt from Maghera, County Londonderry and Scottish drummer extraordinaire, Mark Wilson who  both performed live with the Ulster Orchestra. Highland dancing  also enhanced the night with the award-winning Solus Highland Dancers. 

The acclaimed conductor and composer Carl Davis conducted the Ulster Orchestra with the Belfast-born actor and playwright Dan Gordon presenting the special concert, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio Ulster. The evening also included the traditional Burns Night Address set to music.

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