Sequoia is a Glasgow based string duo comprising violinist Alice Rickards and cellist Sonia Cromarty. Since launching as ‘High Heels and Horse Hair’ at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe we have firmly rooted our place in the Scottish arts scene, performing recitals and creative collaborative projects in festivals, concert halls, public spaces, schools and gardens around the country. We were Chamber Music Scotland’s Ensemble in Residence 2013-15.
Our artistic journey has revealed an innate desire to use music to explore the world around us, inviting greater engagement and connection with our natural environment. To celebrate this, and mark our 10 year anniversary, we have renamed our duo ‘Sequoia’ in recognition of this extraordinary tree and the conservation movement it inspired.
Water Music: Source to Sea
To follow a drop of water from source to sea, To know its journey, its music.
Water Music: Source to Sea is a musical imagining of the journey taken by a raindrop as it travels along Scotland’s waterways. Field recordings, new commissions and existing works by Bach and contemporary classical and folk composers will combine, creating a sonic immersion in one of Scotland’s most iconic natural resources.
Water Music aims to catch and contribute to the momentum of Visit Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters and COP 26 in Glasgow.
13 November 2021
Rain Water Droplets - Jean Sibelius Invention 6 - J.S Bach After Rain and Clear Sky - Alastair Savage
Rivers and Lochs Field Recording - Tim Cooper Clōta’s Song (new commission) - Lisa Robertson Lochbroom (new commission) - Mairearad Green Invention 4 - J.S. Bach The Trows o’ Truggles Water & Clubbi Shuns - Chris Stout Gala Water (solo cello) - Sally Beamish
Sea Field Recording - Tim Cooper Reclaiming the Spirit (excerpt) - Sarah Hopkins Souch o’ da Laebrack - Chris Stout Invention 13 - J.S Bach Waves - field recording - Tim Cooper The Ebb (new commission) - Stuart MacRae Fisherman’s Prayer - Chris Stout Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude (solo) -J. S Bach Changeless and the Changed - David Fennessy Whale recording & Improvisation - Alex South & Sequoia
Ending Invention 7 - J.S Bach Dynröst - Chris Stout
Programme Notes about the existing contemporary music
To ensure cohesion the programme continually returns to the music of Bach, the sounds of the natural environment and Scottish folk music
After Rain/Clear Sky Alastair Savage Looking over to Arran from Ardrossan, after the rain
The Trows o' Truggles Water Chris Stout On an overnight fishing trip Chris camped near the hill loch Truggles Water. Awoken by a scrufflin outside the tent he felt sure it was the Trows (mythical hill folk that inhabit Shetland) and was inspired to write this tune.
Clubbi Shuns Chris Stout Clubbi Shuns is a charming little loch in the north mainland of Shetland (where the trout are known for putting up a good fight!)
Gala Water Sally Beamish Gala Water was written in 1994 for Robert Irvine. It was commissioned by Galashiels Arts Association and uses a local folk tune, 'Braw, Braw Lads of Gala Water', part of which is heard at the end following a set of variations which embrace a range of emotions.
Reclaiming the Spirit (excerpt)Sarah Hopkins Opening section: Seagulls and earth drones
Souch o' da Laebrack Chris Stout Laebrack is the Shetland term for surf, and the Souch describes the sound of its retreat, just like a deep breath.
Fisherman’s Prayer Chris Stout This melody is inspired by the sentiment of the traditional Shetland tune Auld Swaara which mourns the loss of fisherman at sea.
The Changeless and the Changed David Fennessy The music reflects the remoteness of St. Kilda and the resilience and survival of Taraxacum Pankhurstianum, a unique species of Dandelion found on the island of Hirta, part of the archipelago.
Dynröst Chris Stout The Roost is a stretch of water that lies between Sumburgh Head and Fair Isle in Shetland
Alice Rickards - Violin
I am green fingered and love my garden, wildflower meadow and allotment in Glasgow. When my hands aren’t covered in soil they are playing the violin in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
In 2019 I was very fortunate to tour to some exciting and stunning destinations - California & Arizona with the RSNO, Boston with the Dunedin consort, Sydney with the Australian Haydn Ensemble and Salzburg, Orkney & Tokyo with the BBC SSO.
As travel restrictions mean spending more time at home I have recently taken up wild swimming and am enjoying exploring lochs on my doorstep. I'm also focussing on ways to reach communities in Scotland to perform music with Sequoia.
Sonia Cromarty - Cello
I love the diversity of life as a musician and have enjoyed playing across the globe, from symphony orchestra concerts in South America to school workshops in Japan and trio performances on a ship in the Arctic. I freelance with Scotland’s leading orchestras: the BBC SSO, Scottish Opera, SCO, GRIT orchestra, RSNO and the Scottish Session Orchestra. I also teach cello and enjoy helping students of all ages and abilities discover the joys of music making.
Chamber music is my biggest love, especially performing in remote corners of Scotland. When I'm not working I like being outdoors and searching for Sequoia trees with my two young daughters.