St Andrews Scottish Songbook

St Andrews Voices and the University of St Andrews’ Laidlaw Music Centre invite composers born in, or living/studying in, Scotland to send proposals for contributions to the St Andrews Scottish Songbook.




St Andrews Voices, Scotland’s Festival of the Voice, intends to publish a new Scottish Song Book at its 2022 edition to mark VisitScotland’s Year of Scottish Stories. The songbook will consist of 24 settings for voice and piano of existing (text + melody) Scottish traditional songs. The project seeks to


  • Provide a new body of art song repertoire for voice and piano based on traditional Scottish songs.

  • Honour the legacy of former St Andrews Professor of Music Cedric Thorpe Davie and others such as George McPhee, George McVicar and Frank Spedding in bringing traditional Scottish songs to a wider public through their celebrated collections.

  • Present a collection of songs representing a broad survey of traditions, dialects and geographical areas, including the Gaelic tradition, in new, creative arrangements.

  • Provide an opportunity for composers of all ages to creatively engage with the cultural legacy of traditional Scottish songs and to have their work published, performed and recorded.

  • Provide selected young/student composers with mentoring during the composition process.

  • Promote and revitalise the public performance of art song in Scotland.


The Collection


The St Andrews Scottish Songbook will consist of 24 songs. The first six of these have been commissioned from a group of Scottish and/or Scottish-based composers:


  • Sir James MacMillan (world-renowned composer)

  • Ailie Robertson (traditional harpist, Composer in Residence at Glyndebourne, commissions from the BBC Proms, London Philharmonic Orchestra)

  • Tom David Wilson (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, St Mary’s Music School)

  • Mary Ann Kennedy (celebrated performer, composer, broadcaster and champion of Gaelic song)

  • Alasdair Nicolson (Artistic Director, St Magnus International Festival, compositions performed by leading ensembles throughout the world)

  • Eddie McGuire (versatile and celebrated Scottish composer whose work encompasses classical and folk traditions)


The composers of the remaining 18 songs will be chosen from the present call for proposals.


Who can apply?


Any composer born in, or living/study in, Scotland. Although we particularly want to encourage young composers (whether school-age or studying at University/Conservatoire), we are delighted to receive proposals from composers of all ages.


What should I submit?


You should submit a proposal of up to 500 words detailing which song you intend to arrange, its background, geographical area within Scotland and why it’s important to you. You should also submit some proposals as to how you would set the song stylistically, with particular reference to the role played by the piano accompaniment, both musically and textually.


You may also submit supporting material in the form of previous compositions, which demonstrate your ability to write convincingly for voice and piano.


How will the submissions be judged?


The submissions will be judged anonymously by a panel consisting of the six commissioned composers, singer and broadcaster Jamie MacDougall, Amanda MacLeod (Artistic Director of St Andrews Voices) and Sonia Stevenson (Founding Director of St Andrews Voices).


I have a good idea but don’t feel confident about composing a creative piano accompaniment


Any young/student composer who would like to, can take part in two mentoring sessions with commissioned composer, and composition teacher at the RCS and St Mary’s Music School, Tom David Wilson.


Will I be paid and will my song be performed?


All selected composers will be paid a fee of £300. Their song will be published in the St Andrews Scottish Songbook. The collection will be performed in its entirety by Jamie MacDougall in the McPherson Recital Room at the Laidlaw Music Centre during St Andrews Voices in October, 2022. It is also the intention to produce a commercial recording of the collection for launch at this time.


What are the key dates?


17 October, 2020: Online launch event, opening of the call for proposals

31 December, 2020: Deadline for proposal submissions

By 31 January, 2021: successful composers to be informed

1 October, 2021: deadline for submission of final song

Date tbc in October, 2022: launch of St Andrews Scottish Songbook and recording, during St Andrews Voices




Should you require more information, or to submit your proposal, please email us at

St Andrews Voices, Laidlaw Music Centre, Queen's Terrace, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9QF    

© 2020 St Andrews Voices

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