Research Output
The Hold
  The Hold – a site-specific, promenade performance, staged at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, the result of a collaboration between Lung Ha’s Theatre Company and National Museums Scotland. The play is by Anglo-Canadian writer, Adrian Osmond; original music composed by Kenneth Dempster (Scotland); stage direction by Maria Oller (Finland). Ten performances took place on 12–16 March 2014.

The ten musical numbers are composed for a classical quintet (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, violin and cello) running parallel to the action and setting out a related musical narrative of their own whilst reflecting key moments of the drama. Each musical number explores a different musical style ranging from Baroque to Contemporary, through Romantic and Jazz styles. The technique of composition itself often includes incorporating specific musical quotes from well-known works by Bach, Scarlatti and other established composers.

This ‘collection’ of musical artefacts from the past are viewed, ‘museum-like’ through the prism of the protagonist of the play, Peter and his obsessive need to hold on to everything from the past. The disparate musical numbers begin to accumulate an energy and intensity that reflects the many contrasting episodes of his life, both painful and joyful. Towards the end of the play he achieves a state of catharsis, understanding that only by letting go of the past can he begin to move into a future that will hold some peace for him.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    12 March 2014

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    M1 Music

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    781 General principles & musical forms

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Dempster, K. (2014). The Hold



site-specific, promenade performance, National Museum of Scotland, Lung Ha’s Theatre Company, Adrian Osmond, Maria Oller

Monthly Views:

Available Documents