New Associates for the RSNO

Associate Principal Horn Andrew McLean and Associate Principal Oboe Peter Dykes

Scotland's national orchestra appoints Peter Dykes as Associate Principal Oboe and Andrew McLean as Associate Principal Horn

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra has appointed two Associate Principals, recent Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alumnus Andrew McLean as Associate Principal Horn and former New Zealand Symphony Orchestra musician Peter Dykes as Associate Principal Oboe.

Andrew, originally from Dunoon in Argyll & Bute, first picked up a brass instrument at the age of ten.  During his school years Andrew performed with the West of Scotland Schools Orchestra, and benefitted from the RSNO's side-by-side scheme, playing alongside professional members of the Orchestra. He attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) Junior Department in Glasgow under the tuition of former RSNO Principal Horn Maurice Temple and then went on to study his Undergraduate and Masters Degrees in Performance at the RSAMD/RCS, receiving lessons from Hugh Potts, David Flack and the current Head of Brass (a previous third horn of the RSNO), John Logan.

Peter, who is originally from North Yorkshire, graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD), having studied under former RSNO Principal Oboe Stephane Rancourt and former RSNO Principal Cor Anglais Stephen West, graduating in 2000. During this time, he made regular guest appearances with the RSNO and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Peter was a member of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra, which toured extensively in Europe and North America. He has also made concerto performances with the European Union Chamber Orchestra. Peter's previous orchestral positions include Solo Oboe with the Slovenia National Theatre Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Principal Oboe with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in New Zealand, and Associate Principal Oboe with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

RSNO Associate Principal Horn Andrew McLean: "I am delighted to become a full time member of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.  I have been attending RSNO concerts since I started playing the horn - I am now thrilled to be a part of, not only a great section, but a fantastic orchestra."

Former RSNO Associate Principal Horn and now RCS Head of Brass, John Logan: "I taught Andrew for the first two years of his time at the RCS. We first met while I was still with the RSNO, when we performed side-by-side with the West of Scotland Schools Orchestra. He was always regarded as a hard-working individual, who was prevalent playing principal parts in the orchestra and also with the RCS' top brass ensemble. I'm so happy that he is now in the job that I cherished for 17 years in the RSNO and wish him every success."

RSNO Associate Principal Oboe Peter Dykes:  "I'm thrilled to have come full circle and joined the orchestra that I not only spent my formative years listening to, but also had my first professional orchestral experience with, conducted by Alexander Lazarev in 1999. Also, after spending seventeen years living overseas, it's brilliant to be back in Glasgow, my favourite city!"

RSNO Music Director Peter Oundjian: "Following thorough audition and trial processes for each it became clear that Andrew and Peter were the individuals best fitted to join our ensemble. They are phenomenal musicians who have benefitted from expert tutelage from previous RSNO musicians. I very much look forward to working with them over the coming Season."

Andrew joins fellow RCS alumnus Christopher Gough who was appointed to the position of Principal Horn last year. Peter joins RSNO Principal Oboe Adrian Wilson, who was appointed to the Orchestra three years ago.

For more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit www.rsno.org.uk.

Scottish Orchestra tells China Story

Composer Xiaogang Ye

RSNO performs two programmes featuring works by China's greatest living composer

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) presents two concerts celebrating the works of arguably China's greatest living composer in the Western classical tradition this month, when it performs the music of Xiaogang Ye to audiences in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Heralded by the New York Times as, "One of China's leading contemporary composers..." 61 year-old Xiaogang Ye, who is also Artistic Director of the Beijing Modern Music Festival and Vice President of China's Central Conservatory of Music, is perhaps most famously known for composing the music to accompany the 2008 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Starry Sky, performed by Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang.

Xiaogang Ye's music has been described as colourful, melodious and deeply emotional. The titles of the works featured in China Story evoke the countryside and the poetic heritage of the country; Mount Emei, Scent of Green Mango, and The Song of Sorrow and Gratification. In the spirit of partnership and connection with nature the programme also includes a work from one of the UK's greatest composers, Britten's Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes.

The Orchestra will be led by frequent RSNO collaborator, Hungarian conductor Gilbert Varga, and will be joined by multiple prize-winning pianist Wan Jieni; Lu Wei, Concertmaster of Deutsches Symphony Orchester Berlin; 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World winner Shenyang; and acclaimed percussionist Hu Shengnan.

 Xiaogang Ye, composer: "My story is part of the Chinese story and now I will bring this story to Scotland. I hope that through music, a universal language, I can show the world the fascinating culture of modern China."

While taking the root form of Western symphonic music, Ye's compositions also contain many typically Chinese influences, such as the use of Zheng, a traditional string instrument.

The RSNO has developed a significant connection with China. In addition to inviting many of its top soloists to perform in Scotland, including Lang Lang, the Orchestra made its first visit to China in 2012/13, has recorded two albums of the works of celebrated composer Ge Gan-Ru, and has also made two recordings with pianist Xiayin Wang. In addition, the RSNO has been invited to make a return visit to China in 2018/19.

The RSNO performs China Story to audiences at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 29 September and at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 30 September. Both performances start at 7.30pm.

For more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit www.rsno.org.uk.

RSNO appoints two senior managers

New Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement Bill Chandler and Director of Finance and Corporate Services Angela Moreland

Scotland's national orchestra welcomes new Directors of Finance and Corporate Services and Artistic Planning

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has appointed two new members to its Senior Management Team. Associate Leader of the Orchestra Bill Chandler becomes RSNO Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement, and Angela Moreland joins as the new Director of Finance and Corporate Services.

Bill Chandler joined the RSNO in 1996 as Associate Leader but recently shared his performing responsibilities with the artistic direction of the organisation's Learning and Engagement programme. Following a formal recruitment process which resulted in the organisation receiving applications from across the globe for the new role, Bill was selected and will now lead the team responsible for the planning and implementation of the Orchestra's own-promoted performances and Learning and Engagement activities.

Angela Moreland, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, joins as Director of Finance from Scottish charity Sense Scotland, where she has been Head of Finance for the past seven years. Prior to this Angela worked for ten years as the Finance Manager for Erskine Hospital.

RSNO Chief Executive Dr Krishna Thiagarajan: "After over two decades leading and co-leading the RSNO, as well as participating in learning and engagement initiatives too numerous to mention, Bill accepted the offer and will use his considerable knowledge and experience to drive the strategic change of the organisation. More than ever, there is an identified requirement for the removal of divisions between the planning of our performance and community work, and Bill is absolutely the ideal person to drive this forward, unite our planning and deliver greater cohesiveness across our diverse activity.

"We also prepare to welcome Angela Moreland as our new Director of Finance, who has a breadth of experience in the charity and commercial sector and whom I'm confident will become an integral part of our busy team."

Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement Bill Chandler: "I am so excited about this new opportunity. I am looking forward to playing a new role and bring my 22 years of experience with the RSNO to the challenge of mapping out the artistic direction of this great orchestra. I am particularly excited about the  opportunity to bring the considerable outreach activity of the RSNO directly into the heart of the Orchestra's planning, enabling us to reach even more people across the country. Watch this space as the RSNO goes from strength to strength."

RSNO Director of Finance and Corporate Services Angela Moreland: "I'm delighted to have the opportunity to work for such a prestigious organisation. I am sure that my skills and previous experience will add to the success of the RSNO and continue the excellent work of my predecessor."

Bill Chandler's new role combines the positions of Artistic Director of Learning and Engagement - previously held by Bill - and that of Executive Producer, recently vacated by Manus Carey, who left earlier this year following his appointment as Director of Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music. Angela Moreland succeeds Kenneth Osborne, who accepted a senior management role with The Robertson Trust in July.

For more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit www.rsno.org.uk.

Poll position for podium apprentices

Five year-old Elizabeth Gingras from Toronto giving clear instruction to members of the RSNO

Two passengers win orchestra approval for first-time conducting at Glasgow Airport

Glasgow Airport was brought to life with the sound of music from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) yesterday morning (Thursday 31 August) as the 50-strong ensemble and RSNO Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson entertained passengers passing through Scotland's busy transport hub.

The Orchestra performed two 40-minute concerts and during each set five lucky passengers were invited to take to the podium for their first time in charge of a professional symphony orchestra. The first-time conductors were marked for their natural ability and precise direction by four members of the Orchestra's woodwind section.

Earlier in the week Glasgow Airport had run an online poll to determine which piece of music airport users would like to conduct, with the traditional Scottish Eightsome Reels - an international tour encore favourite with the RSNO - coming top.

Unsurprisingly, the apprentice conductors hailed from different international locations, including a young brother and sister from Toronto competing against each other, a young man from Minneappolis and another from Holland. A further participant was embarking on a world-wide trip, attempting to visit every accessible country, with Scotland his first port-of-call. But it was Julian from Cambridge - who was returning home - and Callum from Scotland who was going on holiday - who won the panel's hearts and who each made off with a £100 gift voucher prize, donated by Glasgow Airport.

RSNO Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson: "Performing at the airport was an absolutely joyful experience. Not many expect to be confronted by a full-size professional orchestra after they check in, and to see the look on passengers' faces was very gratifying. It was also a pleasure to welcome our novice maestri to the podium to give their interpretation of a traditional Scottish classic. We had some fantastic -  and very brave -  people taking part, who were in the running for some very generous prizes from Glasgow Airport. I also loved hearing everyone's travel stories and knowing we were helping to create a once in a lifetime start to some people's journeys. Huge congratulations to all who gave it a go and thanks to Glasgow Airport for inviting us to close their Best of Scotland campaign."

Scotland's other national ensemble, the Scotland Football Team, was travelling through the airport on its way to Lithuania for the Group F World Cup qualifier on Friday, and the people's choice of music, Eightsome Reels, appeared to be an appropriate send-off.

Steven Marshall, Head of Airline Marketing and Development at Glasgow Airport: "The Royal Scottish National Orchestra's annual performance is one of the highlights of the year for both the terminal team and of course our passengers.

"A performance from the country's national orchestra is the perfect way to bring to a close what has been a fantastic Best of Scotland campaign."

For more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit www.rsno.org.uk.