Two colourful, dramatic 'leaving gift' programmes from departing Music Director
Stéphane Denève, who departs as Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) after seven outstandingly successful years, will conclude his tenure with two final programmes in May.
Denève Conducts Rite of Spring (Music Hall, Aberdeen – Thursday 3 May; Friday 4 May – Usher Hall, Edinburgh; Saturday 5 May – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall) features the concluding element of Denève's and the RSNO's survey of Debussy's orchestral works, with Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, accompanied by Barber's Violin Concerto with James Ehnes and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. The following week Au Revoir Stéphane (Friday 11 May – Usher Hall, Edinburgh; Saturday 12 May – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall) presents the final programme of the 2011:12 Season and the culmination of the TOTAL Denève Series, featuring James MacMillan's Britiannia, Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks and Ravel's complete ballet music Daphnis et Chloé with the RSNO Chorus and Junior Chorus.
Stéphane bids farewell to Scotland having performed nearly 200 performances with the RSNO to over a quarter of a million people across Scotland, England and Europe. The past seven years is one of the most successful periods of the Scottish orchestra's history. His time with the Orchestra will be best remembered for the re-emergence of romantic and impressionistic French music within the RSNO's core repertoire and the ever-increasing popularity of the partnership's live and recorded performances. Average attendance figures rose year-on-year during his tenure and subscription numbers in Edinburgh and Glasgow are now the highest in a generation.
With Denève's direction the RSNO pioneered and developed new concert presentations (Naked Classics, Springtime in Paris), staged major choral works (Britten'sWar Requiem; Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony; Berlioz'Damnation of Faust; Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky), performed concert versions of opera (Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande). Denève and the RSNO also forged collaborations with the then Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Grieg's Peer Gynt), introduced contemporary music to the repertoire (TEN OUT OF 10; Guillaume Connesson commissions and recordings) and represented Scotland abroad with the Orchestra's first concert in Paris in 2006, followed by three sell-out European tours and the joint first appearance of the RSNO, RSNO Chorus and Junior Chorus at the Concertgebouw. The first recording of the complete cycle of Roussel's major orchestral works was released to critical acclaim in 2007, receiving the coveted Diapason d'Or de l'année for Symphonic Music. Subsequent recordings in the series have enjoyed widespread acclaim. February 2010 saw the release of contemporary French composer Guillaume Connesson's Cosmic Trilogyand Piano Concerto on the Chandos label.
For their final Season Denève and the RSNO have been celebrating the works of Claude Debussy, to mark the 150th anniversary of the French composer's birth in 2012 and in May Chandos releases the double CD recording by Denève and the RSNO of his major orchestral works.
Departing RSNO Music Director Stéphane Denève:
Being Music Director of the RSNO has been an inspiring, momentous and wonderfully exciting journey. I have collected, during my seven years with this great orchestra and its choruses, many special memories. The most rewarding success with the RSNO is increasing number of audiences, year after year. I have also tremendously enjoyed my life in Scotland, thanks to the warmth of its people. A number of personal landmarks happened here: marrying my fiancée Åsa, the birth of our daughter in Paisley, our first family home, and obviously my first Music Director position. I would like to offer these final performances together as our way of saying thank you to all the people who have loved and supported us over the years. Merci de tout coeur and, since my ties with Scotland are now for ever, not Adieu, but Au revoir!