The Saltire Society is a Scottish organization with branches in many different countries. The New York branch ( hosted its second event since its founding last winter: a concert of Scottish songs on June 4, 2003 at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Jeni Montrose, an Edinburgh born mezzo soprano was the singer, and Dr. Bruce MacIntyre provided the lecture and accompanied her on the piano. In the second half of the program, he was joined by Laurin Smith,, violin and Zhibai Lin, 'cello.

  The program was notable for the range of music which was performed. All the songs were Scottish, but the arrangements made the evening particularly interesting. The first half of the concert consisted of "traditionally" arranged songs to texts by Robert Burns and others, while the second half., while the second half had songs arranged by Haydn and Beethoven which can only be considered art songs. It is interesting to note that Scottish music at the time of Beethoven and Haydn was sufficiently interesting to European populations that, publishers in Edinburgh, London, Berlin, and elsewhere commissioned these two composers to prepare special arrangements for the general public.

  Miss Montrose has a lovely voice and a warm and charming personality that shows through in her performance. Her interpretations are thoughtful and intelligent. Her voice has a range of color and depth. She has the ability to phrase the music in ways that are on target for both the melodic line and the text. She is capable of a wide range of dynamics and used this range effectively. She has the talent to adapt effortlessly her vocal style to the affect of each verse of a song.

  Dr. MacIntyres informative and often humorous lecture was well received by the audience. Dr. MacIntyre traced some of the history of the written forms of the songs and gave some demonstrations of stylistic elements like the Scottish snap, textual categories, and pentatonic scale.

  In addition to lecturing, Dr. MacIntyres accompaniment was skillful and sensitive and worked well with both Ms. Montroses singing throughout and the very fine playing of both Laurin Smith, violin and Zhibai Lin, 'cello in the second half.

  Miss Montrose performed to a Standing Room Only audience and there were many comments after the performance about how enjoyable it had been. The representatives of the Saltire Society's New York branch commented on the fact that they were happy to see such a large number of non Scots in the audience who had come because of their interest in music in general and were interested in hearing and learning something about a musical tradition which was not well known to them. Saltire says that it is one of their goals to make other people aware of the importance of Scottish culture in the world in general.

  Representatives of the Saltire Society's New York branch said they were delighted to have had the chance to present these Scottish songs to the general public and to give an opportunity to a young and talented Scottish performer to appear in New York.

 The Saltire Society would like to remind Scots that it maintains a web site ( which has an Events Calendar which posts Scottish and Scottish related events for free and on request. Please notify the Saltire Society of any events you would like listed on the events board by e-mail to




 The Saltire Societys New York Branch is offering a prize for the best work on Scotland, Scots in Scotland or displaced, or other related topics submitted by a student. The work may be a written work, videotape, musical composition, websites or work of art. The competition is open to all students, Entrants need not be Scottish or of Scottish ancestry. Members of the board of directors are hoping to interest people in general, in Scotland, Scottish history and culture and encourage both Scots and non-Scots to attend their events.

 Entries should be sent to Saltire Society; 2983 Bedford Ave.; Brooklyn NY 11210, no later than, Jan 15, 2004. A panel of judges will evaluate the works and announce the winner on Tartan Day April 6th 2004.

 For further information, interested parties can contact the Saltire Society at