A NEW ensemble which brings together some of Scotland’s top string players has been set up to champion a more diverse future for classical music.

Thirteen North’s debut will be in Glasgow next month when three new commissions by folk-influenced Scottish composers will be performed alongside an existing ­masterpiece – Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings.

As well as compositions from Pàdruig Morrison, Catriona Price and Pippa Murphy, the ­concert will also feature the work of ­Glasgow-based filmmaker Bircan ­Birol, who has collaborated with them to ­create short films in response to the themes of generations, culture, and tradition explored through their music.

The idea is to offer audiences an alternative to the formal concert hall environment with a more relaxed and interactive space, stretching the boundaries of the traditional classical music experience and bringing it into the 21st century.

“The whole purpose of what we want to do is to make classical music accessible and to make it inviting for more people,” said co-artistic director Emily Davis.

“I’ve had a predominantly ­classical upbringing in my ­musical ­background and something I’ve ­noticed is a lack of connection between many audiences in the classical world and what I think people could ­actually experience from the music we play.

“There’s a barrier that we at ­Thirteen North are determined to bring down, looking to take ­inspiration from folk music and how folk is so much more accessible to many more people.”

She said there was “something really special” about the sound created by 13 players in the same room.

“A string quartet can do ­something magical, an orchestra can do ­something magical but in ­between, when we have 13 brilliant ­players, there is a lightness but also great depth to each performance,” said Davis.

“Our future plans for ­Thirteen North will involve a lot more ­experimenting with classical ­music and folk music coming ­together – which is exactly what our ­performance in June will celebrate.”

Co-artistic director and ­composer Catriona Price said they were ­committed to commissioning new music from composers in Scotland and exploring collaboration across genres and art forms.

“Many of the players we’re ­working with have a background in Scottish folk music, including myself, and part of Thirteen North’s mission is to celebrate Scottish culture ­alongside the creativity within the group,” said Price who grew up in Orkney and learned classical music as well as ­being immersed in the islands’ fiddle tradition.

“When I write music, the folk ­music from where I grew up just naturally seeps into everything – it’s not really something that I think about, it’s just always there,” she said.

The Connected concert by ­Thirteen North will take place on June 29 at St Luke’s in Glasgow.