New Conducting Fellow for the RSNO Chorus

Sir Alexander Gibson Conducting Fellow Abigail Kitching

Abigail Kitching joins in the Chorus' 175th anniversary year

22 year-old Abigail Kitching has been appointed as the next Sir Alexander Gibson Conducting Fellow, the year-long choral training post for emerging choral conductors.

Abigail graduates with a degree in Music from the University of Manchester this month, where she is also the Musical Director of the chamber choir Ad Solem as well as a student conductor for the Manchester University Chorus and The Cosmo Singers.

The Sir Alexander Gibson Memorial Fellowship is open to choral conductors interested in furthering their experience of choral conducting and is the only initiative of its type in the UK. The Fellowship offers the successful candidate the unique opportunity to work at a very high level with the chorus of Scotland's National Orchestra and its Chorus Director.

The fellowship will involve attendance at a significant number of RSNO Chorus rehearsals. Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings in Glasgow and the specific number of rehearsals at which attendance is required will be decided at the discretion of the Chorus Director. Abigail will also attend all conductor's piano rehearsals, orchestral rehearsals and performances of the RSNO Chorus for one season from September to June. She will also have the opportunity to observe and work with the RSNO Junior Chorus.

RSNO Chorus Director Gregory Batsleer: "The Gibson Fellowship is a crucial part of the RSNO Chorus' identity and has over the years provided many young choral conductors with the rare opportunity of working with a Symphony chorus.  We had a wonderfully high level of applicants this year and saw some fantastic auditions but it was Abi's exciting potential and overwhelming passion for choral conducting and choral music that made her the obvious candidate for the Fellowship.  I am greatly looking forward to working with her over the coming year and supporting her growth and development. "

Newly-appointed Sir Alexander Gibson Conducting Fellow Abigail Kitching: "I am absolutely thrilled and humbled to be given the opportunity to work so closely with Gregory Batsleer and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus. I'm sure the coming year will be a great experience, giving me the chance to grow and learn from the RSNO community. I can't wait to get started!"

Formed as the Glasgow Choral Union in 1843, the RSNO Chorus is the longest continuously operational performing arts organisation in Scotland. In 2017/18 the Chorus and Orchestra will mark the occasion by staging Leonard Bernstein's MASS as well as his Chichester Psalms, Brahms' A German Requiem, and Holst's The Planets.

For more information visit www.rsno.org.uk.

Call for UK composers to join RSNO

Scottish orchestra's third annual nurturing initiative for composers in the early stages of their careers

RSNO Composers' Hub mentor Stuart MacRae

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) today (Tuesday 11 July) launches the third annual initiative to develop the talents of emerging composers, RSNO Composers' Hub.

Aimed at composers in the early stages of their career, the bespoke scheme is an opportunity for a group of composers to write for orchestra in a range of different contexts, develop skills and creative relationships, as well as acquire an understanding of the business of a major arts organisation.

Up to five emerging composers will be chosen to join RSNO Composers' Hub and spend the 2017:18 Season with the Orchestra. Each composer will write a ten-minute work for full symphony orchestra and the scheme will culminate in a public workshop at the RSNO Centre in Glasgow, April 2018, from which one work will be chosen to be performed by the RSNO during its 2018:19 Season.

RSNO Composers' Hub also provides opportunities to develop meaningful collaborations with the RSNO and the other hub members over a sustained period and to get to know the Orchestra, staff and its audience, receiving guidance from different artistic and business areas.

Award-winning composer and Composers' Hub mentor Stuart MacRae: As an emerging composer, it can be a very big challenge to get your music played by a professional orchestra; but in order to develop approaches to orchestral music, composers need time to collaborate with an orchestra, and the support to try out ideas. As well as writing a new short piece for the orchestral workshop there are opportunities to engage with the RSNO's Learning and Engagement team, and to learn more about the running of the organisation. We are looking for talented and enthusiastic emerging composers of any age, based in the UK, to take part in this exciting scheme."

RSNO Composers' Hub aims to give support to Scottish and UK-wide composers, and to provide the creative space for them to explore and develop. The breadth of the scheme will also mean it is an opportunity for our audiences to extend their knowledge of contemporary music and the compositional process.

Previous RSNO Composers' Hub participant Daniel Kidane, whose work Zulu has been selected to be premiered at the RSNO's 2017:18 Season concerts on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 November: "I'm very much looking forward to further collaborating with the RSNO and hearing my piece Zulu come to life in their 2017:18 Season. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Conductor Holly Mathieson and the energetic RSNO, who did a grand job of work-shopping five excitingly unique new pieces. Such opportunities are vital for younger composers and I'm glad that the RSNO is embarking on its third year of this wonderful scheme."

Composers must submit a CV, one-page letter explaining why they would make a suitable candidate for RSNO Composers' Hub, and two examples of own compositions (preferably at least one for full orchestra), with scores and sound samples via email only to the RSNO's Executive Assistant Joanna Chiang at Joanna.Chiang@rsno.org.uk. The closing date for applications is Friday 4th August at 5.00pm.

From October 2017 the RSNO presents the final Season of Peter Oundjian's tenure as Music Director, opening the Scottish première of Gavin Higgins' Velocity (in association with Resonate - a PRS Foundation initiative in partnership with Association of British Orchestras, BBC Radio 3 and Boltini Trust), Elgar's Violin Concerto with soloist Nicola Benedetti and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. For more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit www.rsno.org.uk.