Eight Songs for a Mad King

View event information and book tickets online.

Pre-Concert Performance: The Worshipful Company of Aviarists
Pre-concert performance is FREE ticket-holders only
6pm – 7pm

“Enter the compelling world from which Maxwell-Davies drew his remarkable 8 Songs For A Mad King.
Founded by King George III in 1817, the Worshipful Company of Aviarists served to source and look after his tuneful birds and now present this flight of fancy from inside a birdcage of absurdity as the worshipful company create the regal mind of the mad monarch.
We’ll sing a song of sixpence with four and twenty blackbirds, and have a Lark doing it!”


Scotland’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, Red Note, have been embedded into RCS life for many years, performing works by our student composers, inviting instrumental students in to perform side-by-side and supporting our young conductors.
This year, Red Note and RCS take on a monumental work by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Eight Songs for a Mad King.
The score (to a text by Randolph Stow) offers a searing examination of madness, and this tour de force music theatre piece for male voice and ensemble gives a visceral thrill in performance.
George, our mad king, is suffering from hallucinations and is painfully aware of his failing mental state. During his first episodes of madness, he is subjected to torture,starvation, reproach; he is kept in a stable where he is treated like an animal.
Performing alongside Red Note, in the role of the Mad King, will be MMus Opera student Oskar McCarthy, and the piece will be conducted by one of our Leverhulme conducting Fellows.
The performance will also feature works by Mark Simpson, Harrison Birtwistle and our very own RCS composers, Sean O’Callaghan and Rylan Gleave.

Mark Simpson Straw Dogs
Harrison Birtwistle Carmen Arcadiae
Sean O’Callaghan New Work
Ryan Gleave New Work
Peter Maxwell Davies Eight Songs for a Mad King

RCS Music Lab
Red Note Ensemble
Conductors: Teresa Riveiro Bohm, Joel Sandelson and Sergej Bolkhovets
Soloist: Oskar McCarthy
Director: Mark Hathaway

Event Details



This is a seated event.


Book Tickets Online

Or call the Box Office on
0141 357 4000

Adults: £10.50

Concessions: £8.50

Ticket prices include £1.50 admin fee per ticket. Fee applicable to all tickets, including tickets bought on the day.

Concessions are for under 16s, over 60s, students and unwaged persons.

Tickets are sold as general admission - you will not be allocated a specific seat in the auditorium.

Due to all seats being on ground level, some seats may have restricted views. Please call the box office if you have any questions regarding this.

Please note, our box office is only manned when there is a performance in the venue. Phone messages and emails to the Box Office are checked at least once a day, Tuesdays to Saturdays.
Box Office Information.