A new choral work inspired by the devastating fire which damaged one of the most famous buildings in Scotland is to be released to raise money for the Glasgow School of Art.

Written by writer and broadcaster Muriel Gray and Jamie Sansbury, the founder and music director of the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) Choir, Light Through Tall Windows is performed by the GSA Choir.

It will be released as a CD single in early 2017 and its proceeds will go to the ongoing Mackintosh Campus Appeal.

The music, which will to raise money for the £51m restoration, will also be available through the choir's website as a digital download.

The work will be recorded later this month in the Mackintosh Library, a key part of the building that was gutted by the fire.


Ms Gray said: "That we’ve been granted permission to record it in the library itself is thrilling and daunting in equal measure, and it’s something that each and every choir member will never forget."

The GSA is undergoing some significant changes in its city centre campus, expanding to the former building of Stow College as well as refurbishing and re-opening the Mackintosh Building following the fire of May 2014.

Ms Gray, also chair of the GSA, added: "I first joined the GSA Choir when rehearsals were held each week in the stunning Mackintosh lecture theatre - the very place where, as a student, I used to shift uncomfortably during lectures.

"We took it for granted that we could make music as well as art in that lovely space below the library, and that we would always be able to do so.

"The devastation of the fire left us reeling in shock.

"Like most people that the GSA had fostered, the choir’s response was to try and create something positive out of it."

She added: "Together Jamie and I wrote a short piece for the choir to perform that would remind us about the gift Mackintosh had given all of us.

"Jamie’s score was beautiful, so we all agreed that recording and selling copies would be a hugely appropriate way for us to contribute to the fund-raising appeal for our beloved building."

Mr Sansbury said the fire had been an emotional and traumatic event.

He said: "If you haven’t studied or worked here it is hard to understand that the Mackintosh Building is so much more than just walls, a roof and windows.

"The ‘Mack’ was, and always will be, the heart of the GSA…something we all love and of which we are enormously proud. "This piece is an attempt to set down, in a more tangible way, the joy the building instils in students and staff at the School, the enduring enlightenment it represents, and the impact that has upon them for the rest of their lives.

"The work is dedicated to the staff, students and alumni of the GSA."

He added: "By recording in the library in its damaged state, we hope that some of the sounds of the city will be audible in the background of the finished recording: the irony of course is that although the piece is called 'Light Through Tall Window' there aren’t any windows in the library just now."

The choir was formed in January 2012 by Mr Sansbury, at that time a third year architecture student, to provide somewhere for people at the GSA to come together and perform.

The choir is non-auditioned and comprises 65 members including past and present staff and students of the school.

In 2019 the choir will be performing a specially commissioned choral work by composer Sir James MacMillan which will be premiered in the Mackintosh Building as part of the re-opening celebrations once the building has been restored.