‘Kosmos’: the very name conjures up an entire universe. An apt name, then, for the Kosmos Ensemble, three exceptionally talented musicians for whom there seem to be no boundaries. For two days at the start of November, Harriet Mackenzie, Meg Hamilton and Miloš Milivojevi? (on violin, viola and accordion respectively) brought a whole world of music to Peebles.

At the heart of their visit was a concert in the Eastgate Theatre, as part of the 2015/16 Music in Peebles season. A packed house was taken on a breathtaking world tour in music, borne aloft on some of the most virtuosic playing heard in the Eastgate’s 11 year history. But this was not about technical brilliance alone. The performance revealed thoughtful immersion in the music and cultures of many lands, real genius for imaginative improvisation and a rapport between the musicians that has rightly been called ‘telepathic’. We were taken to the Balkan countries and to the Middle East, treated to Tango music from Argentina and Poland and transported to Japan for a particularly affecting arrangement of a Japanese folk song, ‘Sakura’ (‘Cherry Blossom’), here transformed into a moving threnody for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. With occasional excursions into ‘mainstream’ classical music (including a tantalising snippet of ‘The Lark Ascending’, and was that a cheeky reference to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto?), this was truly a ‘concert sans frontières’ and the audience rightly awarded it five stars.

The concert was flanked by highly successful, and much enjoyed, visits to local schools, perhaps best summed up, in the modern manner, by a pupil of Peebles High School as #amazing! The final event in this mini-residency, and perhaps the most special of all, was a concert by Kosmos in Peebles Nursing Home. Residents were joined by staff and also by people from sheltered housing at Riverside House and Dovecot Court for a wonderful performance that was clearly enjoyed by the musicians as much as by their audience. Feet tapped to a Brahms Hungarian Dance, fingers drummed to the dazzling Csárdás (though not as rapidly as Harriet’s flew on her finger-board) and there was singing and humming along to that most famous of all Tangos, ‘Jealousy’. Whoops of delight celebrated each piece and a shout of ‘Wunderbar’ at the end spoke for us all! With such glorious uplifting music, plus tea and chocolate cake at the interval, this was a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

The school and care home events were part of the expanding Music in Peebles outreach programme, which receives generous financial support from Enterprise Music Scotland and a number of local businesses. Music in Peebles is very grateful to them all for helping to bring such exceptional music-making to some of the younger and older people in our community, who might not otherwise have the chance to hear it.