Peter Oundjian will become the next Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). The celebrated British-Canadian musician succeeds Frenchman Stéphane Denève, who departs at the end of the 2011/12 Season. Peter Oundjian will officially take up his position for the start of the 2012/13 Season.
Peter Oundjian has been Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) since 2004, a post he will retain in parallel with the RSNO Music Directorship. His initial contract with the RSNO is for four years. In the first year of the contract he will conduct six weeks of the season, rising to seven in the second and eight in the third and fourth. Additional weeks will see Oundjian and the RSNO recording CDs, touring internationally, and appearing at major UK venues.
Peter Oundjian was born in Toronto and raised in London, and following studies at the Juilliard School in New York came to prominence as the first violinist of the globally respected Tokyo String Quartet. Upon leaving the Tokyo String Quartet, he embarked on his highly successful conducting career. Oundjian has been Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Caramoor Festival. He has conducted major orchestras in Europe including the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and the Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France, as well as visiting the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR), and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Peter Oundjian joined the TSO in 2004 and has been largely credited with turning around the fortunes of the organisation, increasing the subscriber base, welcoming new and younger audiences to live orchestral music, and playing a prominent and visible role as one of Toronto's major cultural leaders and innovators. He counts many of the world's greatest artists as his regular collaborators.
RSNO Music Director Designate Peter Oundjian:
It is a great honour to have been invited to become the next Music Director of such a wonderful orchestra whose history is so rich and vital. I look forward enormously to this opportunity to build upon the magnificent tradition that my predecessors have created, and to being part of Scotland's vibrant cultural life.
RSNO Music Director Stéphane Denève:
I am very happy indeed at the news that Peter Oundjian will succeed me as Music Director of this wonderful orchestra. I have been fortunate to conduct the Toronto Symphony on many occasions and I have seen the great creativity, imagination and dedication that Peter has brought to them. I am sure he will bring that same commitment to the RSNO, and with the RSNO's passion and energy I think it will be an irresistible combination for the music-loving people of Scotland.
Simon Woods, Chief Executive of the RSNO:
This is a tremendous appointment. I have known and admired Peter for over a decade, and I am in no doubt that he will bring very special qualities to the RSNO. He is a musician of enormous integrity whose performances are richly informed by his many years as a chamber musician. His love of making music together with others is something that is apparent in everything he touches, and the results are always deeply musical, communicative and incredibly involving. There are great times ahead for the RSNO and its audiences.
RSNO Chair Brian Lang, who led the Search Committee in appointing Peter Oundjian:
This is a real coup for the RSNO. Peter Oundjian is not only a very fine conductor, but also a dynamic and proven leader who will bring enormous charisma and vitality to Scotland's national orchestra. I am greatly looking forward to working with Peter in the years ahead. I would like to thank the members of the Search Committee most warmly for their hard work over the past year, and for this tremendous outcome.
Peter Oundjian made his RSNO début in 2002 in a programme of Britten, Elgar and Rachmaninov, returning in March 2010 with a concert including performances of Vaughan Williams' Fourth Symphony which was widely lauded by audiences, musicians and critics. He re-joins the Orchestra in April 2011 for three concerts: at the Caird Hall, Dundee (Thursday 14 April), the Usher Hall, Edinburgh (Friday 15 April) and at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (Saturday 16 April) with a programme comprising Christopher Rouse's Rapture, Grieg's Piano Concerto with Stephen Hough, and Brahms' Symphony No3. Peter Oundjian will conduct performances of Martinů's Fantasies Symphoniques and Mozart's Requiem in the RSNO's 2011-12 season, to be announced in March.