RSNO Principal Guest Conductor appointment

Elim Chan impresses musicians after this year's debut and return visit

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) welcomes Hong Kong-born Elim Chan as its next Principal Guest Conductor, succeeding Thomas Søndergård from 2018.

The Principal Guest Conductor is a member of the RSNO Artistic Team, led by the Music Director, and requires the incumbent to feature in two or more weeks of the Orchestra's Season.

Chan conducted the Orchestra for the first time in February this year, making her Scottish debut, and so impressed the musicians that it led to an immediate request for her to return less than two weeks later. Following her second appearance the RSNO requested a more formal relationship with Chan.

The critics were united in their praise following Chan's return visit, the Scotsman noting that "...the energy between the two parties is highly charged..." and The Herald observed that, "... [Chan] had all the players on their mettle."

She follows Thomas Søndergård, who was announced as the next Music Director of the RSNO in May, and former Principal Guest Conductors Marin Alsop, Gary Bertini and Paavo Berglund.

Chan, the first female winner of the London Symphony Orchestra's Donatella Flick Conducting Competition and current Dudamel Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, returned to Scotland in February to replace RSNO Conductor Laureate Neeme Järvi, who had to withdraw from his 80th birthday concerts with the Orchestra for personal reasons. Chan had made her Scottish debut with the RSNO two weeks previously, to audiences in Kirkcaldy and Musselburgh, conducting Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture and Symphony No4 Italian as well as Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin and accompanying RSNO Principal Bass Ana Cordova as soloist in Serge Koussevitzsky's Concerto for Double Bass.

RSNO Principal Guest Conductor Designate Elim Chan: "The first moment I joined the RSNO on-stage I already felt that something unique and gratifying was about to happen. I sensed a magical connection between the musicians and me that allowed us to make music in such a natural way, and I am grateful for everyone's openness and kindness to me. I am thrilled to be a part of the RSNO Artistic Team and to explore together what's ahead!"

RSNO Chief Executive Dr Krishna Thiagarajan: "On behalf of the Orchestra I'd like to welcome Elim to the RSNO family. Her debut performance was of such chemistry that the musicians immediately called for her re-engagement. This led to an on-stage relationship that can be accurately described as inspiring and full of energy, as well as powerfully evident to the audiences. I'm excited by what this partnership will deliver for our audiences in Scotland and further afield."

Elim Chan's first Season as Principal Guest Conductor, the RSNO's 2018:19 Season, will be announced in March 2018. For more information visit www.rsno.org.uk.

Young composer wins international prize

Notes from Scotland 2017 Winner Alexander Papp 

Alexander Papp wins Scottish Orchestra's national competition for composers aged 12-18 years

Sixteen year old Alexander Papp has won Scotland's national orchestra's Notes From Scotland, its annual composition competition specifically for 12-18 year olds. 

The theme for the third Notes From Scotland was taken from Scotland's outstanding landmarks; Culzean Castle, Ayrshire; Glen Coe, The Highlands; Hill House, Argyll and Bute; Newhailes, Edinburgh, and House of Dun, Angus. 

In partnership with the The National Trust for Scotland, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's (RSNO) Notes From Scotland invited young composers to write a two-minute work for an instrumental trio, quartet or quintet. Following the closing date for entries in May four works were chosen to be performed by an RSNO ensemble at the RSNO Centre, Glasgow last Saturday afternoon. A panel of judges including Scottish composers Jennifer Martin and Oliver Searle selected Alexander Papp's work Progeny, inspired by the landscape of Glen Coe, as the winning entry. Alexander receives an iPad Pro with music software packages included, as well as VIP access to future RSNO concerts.

Panelist and RSNO Artistic Director for Learning and Engagement William Chandler:" "The year's Notes from Scotland composition competition was the largest and most competitive one ever. Pieces were submitted from as far away as New York City and from composers as  young as twelve years old.  I don't envy the judges' task in choosing a winner this year but am thrilled that Progeny by Alexander Papp has been awarded the top prize. Congratulations to Alexander for a truly remarkable work and a huge thank you to all who entered."

Panelist and Composer Jennifer Martin: "The culmination of projects like Notes from Scotland are always incredibly inspiring. The four finalists have us the full range of emotional responses to the National Trust for Scotland properties which provided their inspiration. Our winner, Alexander Papp, is one to watch!"

Notes From Scotland 2017 winner Alexander Papp: "I am delighted to win this prestigious award! I never thought I would reach the final so winning it was just a dream come true! I would like to thank the RSNO for giving me this immense opportunity. I will remember it for the rest of my life."

Prior to the final concert workshops for entrants were held at each of the historic sites across Scotland (Culzean Castle; Glen Coe; Hill House; Newhailes; House of Dun) The participants were given tours of the sites before receiving an introductory guide to composing to a theme. 

Notes From Scotland 2018 will be announced later in the year but for more information visit the competition website, www.notesfromscotland.co.uk, or contact the RSNO's Learning and Engagement team on 0141 225 3557 or email engage@rsno.org.uk. 

ScotRail help Scottish Orchestra network

RSNO Violin Paul Medd and RSNO Viola and presenter of Teddy Bears' Picnic Lisa Rourke

RSNO's transport partner host musicians' performances on Scotland's main railway lines

Musicians from Scotland's national orchestra will take the train to various destinations across Scotland to perform concerts for the very young to the more mature this week and will provide fellow passengers with music along the way.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra and ScotRail have enjoyed a partnership for nearly a decade, and to say thanks for being its Principal Transport Partner the RSNO musicians will disperse to four locations using the rail network to perform a concert for young children at Kennishead, a traditional dance band performance in Pitlochry featuring music from the 1920s, string duo recitals in Mallaig and Crianlarich, and two on-board performances by RSNO string members on the Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank line.

Closest to the RSNO's home in Glasgow, a chamber group and presenter Lisa Rourke will welcome early years and nursery aged children to Kennishead community organisation Positively Including Everyone (PIE), for a presentation of its critically acclaimed Teddy Bears Picnic, an interactive performance tailored especially for young children.

In the east, RSNO string players will entertain passengers on the Borders Railway Line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, the longest new domestic railway to be built in over 100 years in Scotland.

On Tuesday 6 June and Wednesday 7 June the West Highland Line between Glasgow Queen Street Station and Mallaig will have a string duo performing music with a Nordic influence, collated by RSNO Viola Katherine Wren who spent several months last year travelling around Shetland, The Faroes, Greenland and Iceland, immersing herself in the diverse but connected musical cultures.

The RSNO's Café Orchestra will perform at the Atholl Centre, Pitlochry on Wednesday 7 June from 2.30pm, providing attendees with all the means to dance to the hits of the 1920s and 30s. The musicians will also be entertaining passengers on their way from Glasgow to Pitlochry with a themed selection of music.

James Ledgerwood, the ScotRail Alliance's Head of Economic Development: "We're very fortunate to work alongside so many groups across Scotland that are so passionate, not only about their local railway, but also about the wider difference the railway can make to local communities.

"These concerts show that the benefits these groups bring don't end at the station platform."

RSNO Artistic Director for Learning and Engagement William Chandler: "Our partnership with ScotRail is incredibly valuable to us as it provides us with the means to travel the country performing to audiences in urban and rural settings. We relish the opportunity to try new things so when the opportunity to use the rail network to not only access performance opportunities but to provide platforms for performances themselves we were keen to accept. We're very much looking forward to seeing some new faces on our journeys and spreading the joy of live music".