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Michael Nyman to compose music for Borders event at Kelso Abbey

21 August 2013

Michael Nyman to compose music for Borders event at Kelso Abbey

Multi-award-winning international composer, Michael Nyman is creating new music inspired by the Hawick Missal Fragment.

Nyman, who is recognised for his stirring soundtrack to the film ‘The Piano’ will hold the premiere for his new composition at Kelso Old Parish Church on Saturday 14th September 2013.  The performance is part of the Fragments project, an arts and music project for the Scottish Borders, inspired by the discovery of a rare and precious fragment of a medieval manuscript, discovered in Hawick in 2009.

The new event, entitled ‘Fragments of Black – a song of night.’, will be the second  performance in the Fragments trilogy, with an evening of light, sound and song, which sets out to explore a journey through a medieval landscape.

The Hawick Missal Fragment would have been part of a missal – a book which contained the texts and chants for a medieval Mass.  

Announcing Michael Nyman’s contribution to the Fragments project, during a visit to Hawick, as part of the Scottish Government’s summer tour, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs  said: “I am delighted that Michael  who has won a Golden Globe, a British Academy Award, an Ivor Novello award and many more is coming to the Scottish Borders to take part in the Fragments Project.

“To hear exciting new music composed by an internationally renowned composer in the historic and spiritual setting around Kelso Abbey will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  

“It is wonderful that the Hawick Missal Fragment, a part of Scotland’s medieval history, has inspired Michael Nyman and shows how our heritage continues to fascinate people from around the world.”

Dr Matthew Cheung Salisbury, musical director of the Fragments Project, said: ‘We look forward to hearing Michael Nyman’s response to the medieval music of the fragment, a contemporary response by a world-renowned composer to melodies that were heard and known across the Western world, but largely lost since the Reformation.’

David Taylor, portfolio Manager for Creative Scotland, said: “Creative Scotland are delighted to support this community wide celebration of music and art inspired by the Hawick Missal.  

“We would like to encourage as many people as possible to head along and enjoy the work of award-winning Michael Nyman in the inspiring environment of Kelso Abbey.”

Tickets are on sale now and can be bought in advance from or directly from Jedburgh Abbey, Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh Abbey and from the Heritage Hub at the Heart of Hawick.

Tickets will also be sold on the evening of the event at Kelso Old Parish Church.

Adult £15, Concession £13, Child £10, HS Members receive a 10% discount.

For more information, please visit


Notes to editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, inspiring our people and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity as Scotland prepares to welcome the world in 2014 and beyond. Find out more about Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty at

  • The Fragments trilogy is a two year music and arts project. The project received £60,000 funding from Creative Scotland’s Year of Creative Scotland Culture and Tourism programme. Creative Scotland is the national development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries.

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For further information

Iona Matheson
Media & PR Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8703 or 07827 956 858