The Scotsman Sessions #106: Dávur Juul Magnussen

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on, with introductions from our critics. Here, RSNO principal trombonist Dávur Juul Magnussen plays a new multi-trombone version of Purcell’s Fantasia Upon One Note in the stairwell outside his flat in Glasgow

“During lockdown, you come up with a million ideas for things you’d like to do in the future. It’s been a terrible time, but it also wakes up your imagination and makes you take stock of where you are, what you’re doing.”

Dávur Juul Magnussen might spend most of his professional life as principal trombonist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, but his passions and his activities range far and wide: from classical to jazz, folk and experimental music, and internationally too.

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“In the Faroe Islands, where I’m from, there’s a lot of music going on, and I try to keep in touch with it – with the Faroese Symphony Orchestra, which I play with, and also with the cave concerts that I do.’

Dávur Juul MagnussenDávur Juul Magnussen
Dávur Juul Magnussen

Yes, Magnussen organises performances in Klæmintsgjógv, the world’s largest sea cave, with spectacular sonic results, and has also held a concert on the beach in far-flung Saksun, where his family is from.

“It was with all the brass bands from the Faroes, so about 200 musicians, and the special thing is that you get an echo from all sides surrounding the beach.”

During lockdown, he’s been making lots more plans along similar lines – for when he’s able to travel on a more regular basis. Another interesting acoustical spot he’s discovered, however, is the stairwell just outside his flat in Glasgow, where he’s already recorded his own arrangement of the Beatles’ Blackbird (up on YouTube). For his Scotsman Sessions performance, he’s made a new multi-trombone version of Purcell’s Fantasia Upon One Note.

“My girlfriend Emily is a violinist, and she’s been showing me corners of the repertoire I hadn’t paid much attention to. I listened to this piece and thought: that would work really well on trombones. I had to change the key so that it fits in the trombone’s range, and I’m playing two instruments, a tenor and an alto trombone, which is a baby instrument I like very much.”

Luckily his neighbours are understanding. “I put up a note at the entrance when lockdown started saying I might play in the stairwell, and they all said it was fine. I think they’ve been quite happy to hear it.”

For more on Dávur Juul Magnussen, visit

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