Tag Archives: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

#GLTU4 Cellos and Bellows – review

19 May

Our gracious hosts, Karen McAulay (@KarenMcA) and James Beaton (@jjb362)

#GLTU4 had a music theme and was an event of many parts. People dropped in and out, but there were 15 attendees for at least some part of the afternoon.

1. Lunchtime concert.

5 of us attended the lunchtime concert at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for which Karen had obtained free tickets. We heard a varied programme from two prize winning string quartets, the Csengele and the Cantabile, made up of Royal Conservatoire students. Remember those names, they will go far!

2. Royal Conservatoire Library.

Karen gave us a tour of the Whittaker Library where we were intrigued by the young man in the silent study area listening to music on his headphones and conducting away to himself. Naturally, the library’s collections are heavily concentrated in the areas of music, drama and other performing arts, and Karen described very well the attendant problems of classification. For music, they use Library of Congress. Drama used to have an in-house classification scheme, but a few years ago it was converted to Dewey. Other differences to more general academic libraries include the fact that journals are less likely to be online, because many of them emanate from small societies, and the large number of media items in the library:


We then toured the rest of the building, passing a display case of archive material, including a portrait of Jimmy Logan as Dame Lizzie (1989) and the costume he is wearing in it. You can also see his red book from This is your life:


We walked through the corridors of Practice Rooms, hearing snippets of different music coming from each, before ending up in the newest part of the building, the Alexander Gibson Opera School, which was opened by Dame Janet Baker in 1998. And finally, I added to my collections of bags acquired via GLTU with a fine Wheesht! bag.


3. National Piping Centre

We crossed the road to The National Piping Centre, where coffee and shortbread made a welcome start. The Piping Centre exists for the study of the music and history of the Great Highland Bagpipe and incorporates a school with rehearsal rooms and an auditorium, the Museum of Piping, a reference library, conference facilities, a hotel and restaurant. Quite a place!

After refreshments we moved to the library which smelled beautifully new. James explained that it had previously been housed in cupboards and was now being transferred to new shelving:


The Piping Centre teaches over 10,000 hours of piping per year, including some courses via Skype. It is a charity, but relies on its commercial activities for £1.6m of its £2m income. (We provided some help in this later by copious wine drinking.) They have a joint course in traditional music with the Conservatoire so Karen and James work together quite closely sometimes. James is also Project Manager for Noting the Tradition, an oral history project which will launch a website at Piping Live in August. In the meantime, it has a Facebook page and can be found on Twitter at @NotingTheTradit.

Next stop, the Piping Museum. Although housed in the Piping Centre, this is actually part of the National Museums of Scotland. It was good to have a tour with added expert commentary.


Again, we had a tour of the rest of the building and, again, this included corridors of practice rooms. We were amused by the notices on the doors:


Back in the library, James gave us a tune to complete the visit:


4. The Piper’s Tryst

The Tryst is the restaurant attached to the Piping Centre and after the visit seven of us had dinner there. The food was good, the wine was fine and the company exceptional. In a slightly bizarre twist at the end of the evening, I emerged from Hillhead Subway and phoned my husband who, I was sure, would be in some local hostelry. Indeed, he was in the Chip, and who should I meet just coming out as I went in but James? Much astonishment all round – he had taken a taxi and had already had a quick pint. He didn’t take an awful lot of persuading to turn round and have another one with us!

So that’s my story of #GLTU4. If you have anything to add – photographs or links – please let me know. #GLTU5 will be coming up on June 21st, so watch this space.


Here’s Karen, announcing the disruption of our visit to her students.

Storify of related tweets.

June 17: Better late than never! Here’s Isabel’s blog post about the Royal Conservatoire. Follow up on the Piping Centre promised.

July 05: Piping Centre follow up to the above.

#GLTU4 Cellos and Bellows – preview

25 Apr

Friday 18th May: Cellos and Bellows tweetup

Come and explore Glasgow’s creative quarter with a visit to the libraries of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Glasgow Piping Centre.

If you’d like to attend the lunchtime concert at the Royal Conservatoire, it starts at 13.00 pm, so please meet Music & Academic Services Librarian Karen McAulay at 12.45 pm beside the Café-Bar. Ticket price £9.50.

A tour of the Royal Conservatoire’s Whittaker Library at 14:15 will be followed by a walk across the road to the Piping Centre at 15:00 for coffee, a tour of the Piping Centre and its newly-refurbished Library, and Noting the Tradition Project Officer James Beaton’s ‘Come and try the pipes’ session.

By 16:30 we’ll be pausing to gather breath(!); this marks the end of the organised tour, but you’re welcome to stay for a bite to eat at the Tryst, which serves light and full meals from 5 pm onwards. Menus here.

To join the tour, go to the SLAINTE events calendar – you can sign up for each tour and the after-tour tweetup separately if you wish. (NB deadline to book for the meal at the Tryst is 10th May. Tours will stay open for booking after that date if not full.)

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