What’s On

Visiting our museum

Opening Hours:

Monday – Closed
Tuesday – 10:00 – 17:00 – Last entry at 16:30
Wednesday – 10:00 – 17:00 – Last entry at 16:30
Thursday -10:00 – 17:00 – Last entry at 16:30
Friday – 10:00 – 17:00 – Last entry at 16:30
Saturday – 10:00 – 17:00 – Last entry at 16:30
Sunday – Closed

Highlight Tours of St Cecilia’s Hall | Daily Tuesday-Saturday | 14:00 | Pay What You Can | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

Join us on these guided tours of the musical treasures on display at St Cecilia’s Hall, Scotland’s oldest concert hall and home to the University of Edinburgh’s Musical Instrument Collection. Hear the sounds of the past, discover the weird and wonderful world of musical instruments and journey through the past 500 years of music history. Tours will be led by the curators and volunteers of St Cecilia’s Hall. The themes will change daily, so feel free to register for more than one! Children are most welcome.

Sounds of St Cecilia’s I: Maria Magdalena and the Other Marias | 7th of August 2024 | 15:00 | £15 / 12 / 6 / 5 | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

Music from 16th and 17th century Italy, France and England, celebrating the different faces of the biblical Marias and exploring their sacred and secular aspects. To include works by Frescobaldi, Purcell and Cozzolani for voice and keyboard, featuring the Bernardinus De Trasuntinus harpsichord of 1574.

Attila the Stockbroker’s Early Music Show | 9th of August & 16th of August 2024 | 14:00 | FREE | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

Back by popular demand, the self-taught and self-proclaimed David Munrow of punk brings his Early Music Show to the beautiful surroundings of St Cecilia’s Hall for the third time. He explains how his fascination with early music came about, inspired by his first encounter with the humble recorder aged six. He’ll demonstrate the crumhorn, cornamuse, rauschpfeife, sausage bassoon and loads of different recorders, and play songs from his 2018 album Restoration Tragedy about the Levellers, Diggers and Ranters and their challenge to Cromwell during the Commonwealth after the execution of Charles I in 1649.

Sounds of St Cecilia’s II: Small Worlds | 10th August 2024 | 15:00 | £15 / 12 / 6 / 5 | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

We often think that today, the world is more connected than ever. But already in the 18th century, musicians were busy networking on an international level. Haydn’s English connection, Handel’s German-Italian-English influences and Scarlatti’s fame in Spain and Portugal are just a few examples. In this concert you will hear a unique combination of a large, diversely equipped, late 18th century English harpsichord by Broadwood and a Hubert clavichord of the same time. By joining these unlikely partners, this program explores trans-European influences and varied styles. Concert supported by the Keyboard Charitable Trust.

Classical Bagpipe Music – Scotland’s Hidden Treasure | 11th August 2024 | 19:30 | £12 / 10 | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

In this concert you will hear a variety of piobaireachd, the classical music of the great Highland bagpipe, Scotland’s national instrument. The musicians are all leading exponents of this wonderful music. The tunes will be played in continuous fashion, giving a unique musical experience. Most piobaireachd are composed using pentatonic scales or variations thereof, so although the pipe has a limited number of notes, a wide variety of tonal mood is possible as you will hear at this concert.

Sounds of St Cecilia’s III: An Italian in Edinburgh | 14th August 2024 | 15:00 | £15 / 12 / 6 / 5 | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

In 1735, having left Handel’s opera orchestra, Francesco Barsanti settled in Edinburgh, becoming active with the Edinburgh Musical Society. Gerry McDonald (recorder) and John Kitchen (harpsichord) contrast him with his Italian colleagues, Geminiani, Sammartini, Veracini and Castrucci and of course the great Handel himself. Featuring the 1709 Thomas Barton harpsichord. ‘Respected performer’ (Recorder Magazine). ‘Kitchen’s playing is exemplary’ (Early Music Review).

Celtic Harp Music with Harriet Earis | 15th August 2024 | 15:00 | £15 / 12 / 5 | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

A lively, foot-tapping concert of Welsh, Irish and Scottish harp music from one of Europe’s finest exponents of the Celtic harp. Harriet Earis has performed all around the world, including in 25 different states of the USA. She has given solo performances in the Albert Hall and the O2 in London (to 25,000 people) and she was a winner of an Open Stage Award at Celtic Connections in Glasgow. For more information see www.harrietearis.com

Sounds of St Cecilia’s IV: A Music Notebook | 17th August 2024 | 15:00 | £15 / 12 / 6 / 5 | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

A programme exploring guitar music in Europe in the early 19th century, presented by Italian guitarist Luca Soattin. Including works by Ferdinando Carulli, Fernando Sor, Niccolò Paganini and Mauro Giuliani. Featuring an original Italian guitar crafted by Paolo Castello in Genoa in 1804, a remarkable instrument that showcases transitional features bridging late baroque and early classical forms.

Edinburgh Renaissance Band’s Viol Rackett Show | 18th August 2024 | 15:00 | £10 / FREE | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

The Edinburgh Renaissance Band return for 2024 with a live performance of their ever-popular Viol Rackett Show, our best-loved programme of music and dance from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The award-winning troupe of eleven musicians show off a large range of period instruments, including shawms, cornetti, sackbuts, nakers, viols, fiddles, crumhorns, gemshorns, bells, bagpipes, racketts and a serpent, accompanied by costumed dancers. Fronted by musical director Murray Campbell, whose lively presentation provides a delightful show. Suitable for all ages. Children especially welcome and free.

Sounds of St Cecilia’s V: The 18th Century London Flautist | 21st August 2024 | 15:00 | £15 / 12 / 6 / 5 | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

A pocket of creative activity by instrument makers such as the Stanesby, Potter and Urquhart families, led to a vast output of finely crafted, unique flutes in London, examples of which are housed at St Cecilia’s Hall. The Vauxhall Band perform music for flute, violin, cello and harpsichord inspired by stories of the people who made the flutes, performed on them, by composers associated with Vauxhall Gardens and London, including Thomas Arne, Handel, William Boyce, Lewis Granom, Carl Weiss and James Oswald. Supported by the Shackleton Fund and Continuo Foundation.

The Triumph of Time and Truth: Handel and Vivaldi | 22nd August 2024 | 13:00 & 15:00 | £16 / 14 / 13.50 / 7.50 | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

Entrancing concert of Vivaldi and Handel’s sublime music exploring love and redemption. Elspeth McVeigh’s hauntingly pure voice ‘has a storytelling quality to it, which takes the listener on a metaphorical journey’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com) and has been described as ‘…an oasis of calm… perfect diction… gentle manner…’ **** (ThreeWeeks). Expertly and sensitively accompanied by Sean Heath, harpsichord, with baroque violin. Venue: The beautiful 18th-century St Cecilia’s Hall, a perfect setting for the music. The vocal programme is threaded with gorgeous instrumental harpsichord and violin.

Concert Couture: Fashion of the 18th Century | 22nd August 2024 | 18:00 | Pay What You Can | Tickets via Eventbrite

Interested in fashion? Loved watching Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte series? Then we have the talk for you! Join Dr Emily Taylor, the National Museum’s Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts, for an informal talk on the fashions you might have seen gracing our concert hall here in the 1760s.

Songs of Lady Nairne | 24th August 2024 | 14:00 & 15:30 | £12 / 10 | Tickets via the Edinburgh Fringe

Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne, a contemporary of Robert Burns, wrote some of the best-loved songs of Scotland, such as The Hundred Pipers, Charlie Is My Darling, Caller Herrin and Will Ye No Come Back Again. Singer Kate Witney and pianist Jonty Nowell (who will be playing one of the historic instruments from St Cecilia Hall’s museum) present a delightfully varied programme, which spans rousing Jacobite calls to arms, lullabies, vibrant scenes of daily life and tender reflections on life and loss.

Weekly Tours

June Tour Dates

Wednesday 5th June 2024 | 14:00 | FREE | Tickets via Eventbrite

Join David for a tour of the keyboard galleries and learn all about the journey from harpsichord to piano!

Saturday 15th June 2024 | 14:00 | FREE | Tickets via Eventbrite

Join Jim on a tour of the Wolfson Gallery and learn about how playing music as a group works!

Thursday 20th June 2024 | 14:00 | FREE | Tickets via Eventbrite

Join Claire for a tour of some of our early keyboard instruments and learn all about some of our oldest keyed instruments!

Friday 28th June | 14:00 | FREE | Tickets via Eventbrite

Join Dona for a tour of our keyboard galleries and learn all about our early keyboard collections!

Concerts at St Cecilia’s Hall

Making Waves – Piano Recital | 6 June 2024 | £8 \ 5 \ | 19.00 | Tickets via Eventbrite

Nicholas McCarthy performs a stunning programme of left-hand piano repertoire including a brand new commission from Joe Stollery.

On 6 June one of Britain’s most inspiring pianists, Nicholas McCarthy, will give a recital at St Cecilia’s Hall in Edinburgh. The only left-hand-only pianist to graduate from the Royal College of Music in its 130-year history, McCarthy has become a great champion for disabled musicians and composers, including the RPS-Shortlisted Concerto for Left Hand by Ben Lunn. Highlights of this concert will include the World Premiere of a new work commissioned by Drake Music Scotland from rising young composer, Joe Stollery.

McCarthy has made a name for himself internationally as the natural champion for repertoire, for one hand, and this recital will demonstrate the wealth and variety of works demonstrating the uniqueness and highly virtuosic nature of the repertoire that exists. 

Sypert Summer Concert Series 2024

Fretwork Viol Concert | 1 June 2024 | £8 \ 20 \ 23 | 19.30 | Tickets via Eventbrite

‘Take Five’ Five viols playing music by Byrd, Debussy, Purcell, Nyman, Bach and Dave Brubeck.

Emilia Benjamin, Emily Ashton, Joanna Levine, Sam Stadlen and Richard Boothby – viols

Bojan Čičić (violin) John Kitchen (harpsichord) | 8 June 2024 | £8 / 20 / 23 | 19:30 | Tickets via Eventbrite

Croatian-born violinist Bojan Cicic has established himself as one of the leading names on the Early Music scene. Accompanied by well-known Edinburgh musician John Kitchen on harpsichord, their programme ‘German Sonatas Before Bach’ will include works by Johann Jacob Walther, Johann Paul von Westhoff, Johann Georg Pisendel, George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach.

The keyboard instrument used in this concert is the 1755 double-manual harpsichord by Jacob Kirkman, an original example from the University’s Musical Instrument Collection.

Jean-François Madeuf & Les Cuivres Romantiques | 15 June 2024 | £8 / 20 / 23 | 19:30 | Tickets via Eventbrite

French Brass Chamber Music of the 1840s.

Jean-François Madeuf & Jean-Daniel Souchon: natural (cavalry) trumpet, valve cornet & néocor.

Pierre-Yves Madeuf: natural & valve horn, alto ophicleide .

Cyrille Grenot, natural & valve horn.

Andrew Kershaw, slide trombone & bass ophicleide.


Neglected Creatives | 20th July 2024 | FREE | 13:00 – 15:00 | Tickets via Eventbrite

Composer and BBC Radio 3 Producer Luke Whitlock hosts an informal concert, where he explores the neglected female creatives behind some of the instruments held at the museum. This event will include performances of new works given by Dr John Kitchen on a 1766 Shudi Harpsichord, members of the Wallace Collection duetting on a pair of Besson Cornophones from the 1890s, and a string ensemble formed to perform on a selection of instruments from the New Violin Octet developed by Carleen Hutchins in the twentieth century.

St Cecilia’s Informal Talk Series 2024

St Cecilia’s Hall by Page Park Architects. Copyright Jim Stephenson 2017.

August 22nd | Concert Couture: Dressing for Concerts in Late Eighteenth Century Britain | 18:00-19:00 | Tickets: Pay What You Can | Tickets available via Eventbrite

Interested in fashion? Loved watching Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte series? Then we have the talk for you! Join Dr Emily Taylor, the National Museum’s Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts, for an informal talk on the fashions you might have seen gracing our concert hall in the 1760s.

November | Edinburgh’s Old Town | Tickets: Pay What You Can | Bookings will open on Eventbrite in Autumn

The details of our November talk are currently in the works so watch this space!

Family Activities

Summer Family Trail | 28th June 2024 – 17th August 2024 | FREE | Tickets bookable via Eventbrite

Join us between the 28th of June and the 17th of August for a free, fun Summer themed family trail!

Following the usual route around the museum, see if you can spot the 8 buckets and spades hidden throughout the galleries. Each gallery has two buckets and spades for you to find!

Museum Socials

Our Social Programme creates a friendly environment where everyone is welcome and all contributions are valued. Sessions start with tea and cake, and feature a range of activities inspired by our collections, building confidence, inspiring creativity and having fun. They are suitable for those who might be regular visitors, those who have always loved visiting, as well as those who have never come to our museum before. Sessions run from 10:30-12:00.

Family Programme

One of the St Cecilia's Team explaining how a Harpsichord works on one of our school tours

Families and children of all ages are always welcome at St Cecilia’s Hall. Come and have fun together while learning about the history of musical instruments.

Our children’s tour can help introduce the instruments to young children while our hands-on interactive ‘discover drawers’ allow visitors both young and old the opportunity to uncover how instruments work.

Children can explore the museum with our Discovery Trail – ask for it at the front desk when you arrive!.

We run a wide range of practical, hands-on workshops, led by musical instrument specialists throughout the year. Look at the Upcoming Events section below to see when the next activity is taking place or contact SCHevents@ed.ac.uk for more information.

In addition, tours or other activities can be arranged to cater for special interests and a varied needs. Please contact SCHgroupvisits@ed.ac.uk for more information.

Venue Hire

St Cecilia’s Hall, located off the iconic Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town provides contemporary facilities and comfort, within the stunning 1763 heritage building, uniquely home to a world class collection of musical instruments.

We welcome bookings for events that support the museum’s core purpose as a concert hall for live music, and museum of music and musical instruments.

We have two separate spaces available for hire to suit a range of events / activities and budgets:

The Sypert Concert Room  (first floor) – max capacity 180 (this number includes all staffing/performers/speakers etc).

The Laigh Hall*  (ground floor) –  for receptions/refreshments max capacity 80.

St Cecilia’s Hall opening event for CRC Staff, 18th May 2017.

Note that the Laigh Hall itself is divided in 2 by a glass wall creating 2 spaces, both these spaces comprise the Laigh Hall.

Please note absolutely no catering is permitted in the Sypert Concert Room however refreshments can be served in the ground floor Laigh Hall and Historic Foyer. Catering must be arranged separately by the client as St Cecilia’s does not provide this service.

If you would like to enquire about venue hire at St. Cecilia’s full details and prices are available here or email us for more details: SCHEvents@ed.ac.uk

St Cecilia's Hall