Drake Music commission: Ewan Mackay ‘Something from Nothing’


The Drake Music 2018 Emergent Commissions had a theme of “Music and the Audience”, which meant each artist explored different ways to engage with the audience in the creation of their commission piece.

The commission was created, performed and recorded live at the Barbican as part of The Radical Sound of Many, a Drake Music showcase of new work by Disabled performers.

Ewan is a neo-impressionist classical musician, trained in the cello and also a composer inspired by the landscape of his native Scotland.

The performance of his Emergent Commission “Something from Nothing” begins with a blank score sheet and ends with a world premiere. What happens in-between changes each time.

Part lecture, part performance, part live on-the-spot composition, Ewan’s commission is not a piece of music. It is a set of criteria, parameters, library instrumentation and an audience. Every time the work is performed it is created anew, a constant premiere.

Ewan commented:

“This commission has been an enlightening experience and has allowed me to work with a number of extremely talented and supportive mentors within Drake Music. I am grateful for the support I have received and I look forward to seeing how the relationships forged develop in the months to come”

Emergent: A Music Legacy is a Drake Music artistic programme, funded by Help Musicians UK, which provides creative and career development to emerging Disabled musicians.