A First for The Last Jedi Soundtrack

Scotland's national orchestra  will be first outside the USA to perform new movie music live

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) will be one of the first orchestras to perform the music of the latest Star Wars film The Last Jedi live next month, when it celebrates the canon of music associated with the most popular science fiction series of all time, to audiences in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth.

Composer John Williams will conduct the world premiere of a new suite of music from The Last Jedi with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday 31 January and the RSNO, with conductor Richard Kaufman, will present the european premiere of music from the latest Star Wars film on Friday 2 February at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. The programme will also appear twice at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 3 February and once at Perth Concert Hall on Sunday 4 February.

In addition to the music from the last eight Star Wars films, including one of the first live opportunities to hear themes from the latest movie The Last Jedi, the RSNO will perform selected works from John Williams' score for Superman, which marks its 40th anniversary this year.

John Williams' career spans six decades. He has written music for some of the most popular and recognisable scores in cinematic history, including the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman and Indiana Jones. Williams has received numerous awards, including five Oscars, and has received fifty-one Academy Award nominations, more than any other living person and the second most nominated person of all time, behind to Walt Disney. In 2005 the American Film Institute selected Williams' music for the original Star Wars movie as the greatest American film score of all time.

Richard Kaufman, who was previously a violinist in John Williams' Orchestra and appears on many of the original soundtracks, has been the RSNO's go-to maestro for its film programmes over the past five years and has developed the live film music strand as one of the Orchestra's most popular series of concerts.

Conductor Richard Kaufman: "John Williams is certainly the greatest living film composer and, without question, is also one of history's finest creators of film music.  In the grand tradition of legendary film music composers including Steiner, Waxman, Tiomkin, Herrmann, Newman and only a few others, John Williams' music is consistently the primary reason for a film's success.  Just imagine Star Wars, Jaws, E.T., Indiana Jones, Schindler's List, Harry Potter, and so many other movies without the extraordinary musical contribution of John Williams!

"With now 51 Oscar nominations, the latest for his score to The Last Jedi, and with the unanimous respect and affection of the entire Hollywood community and audiences around the world, John has made a profound and lasting mark on film history.  And most importantly, he has done it all with humility, gracious appreciation, and dignity. When John's music is performed by the ladies and gentlemen of the RSNO, it's not merely a concert...it becomes an exciting musical event to be cherished by all who have the unique opportunity to experience some of Hollywood's most memorable film music played by one of the world's greatest symphony orchestras."

Published by Variety Magazine earlier this month, actor Mark Hamill, who has played the role of hero Luke Skywalker since the first Star Wars film in 1977, recalled hearing John's music for the first time: "Tears were streaming down my face," he says. "I was so overwhelmed, so moved, so delighted. He elevated our modest little movie into an epic. We owe him so much. Aside from George Lucas, nobody deserves more credit for the success of those films than John Williams."

The Music of Star Wars (sponsored by Capital Document Solutions) is at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 2 February (7.30pm), the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 3 February (3.00pm and 7.30pm) and at Perth Concert Hall on Sunday 4 February (7.30pm). For more information visit www.rsno.org.uk/film

Two New Year appointments to the RSNO

Image: New Principal Timpani Paul A Philbert (image ©Eric Richmond) & Associate Principal Bassoon Luis Eisen

Scotland's national orchestra recruit new Principal Timpani and Associate Principal Bassoon

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has appointed Paul Philbert as its new Principal Timpani and Luis Eisen as Associate Principal Bassoon.

London-born Philbert, who studied at Purcell School and Trinity College of Music, joins from the Orchestra of Opera North where he has been Principal for the past three years. Prior to this he was a founding member of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

Eisen joins from the Staatsorchester Oldenburg where he has been Principal Bassoon since 2014. He has also performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and many of the professional German ensembles.

Paul Philbert succeeds former RSNO Principal Timpani Martin Gibson who retired after 36 years' service in February 2017, and Luis Eisen replaces former Associate Principal Bassoon Rosina Alter, who departed the RSNO in November 2016.

New RSNO Principal Timpani Paul Philbert: : "I couldn't be more honoured and delighted to be joining such a wonderful and welcoming ensemble. The warmth of the RSNO made me feel at home instantly, and I look forward to many years of magnificent music-making with this marvellous orchestra!"

New Associate Principal Bassoon Luis Eisen: "I'm incredibly happy to join the RSNO - from the first moment I felt a special connection to this very passionate orchestra. I very much enjoyed the performances in my trial period and I am absolutely thrilled to become a member of this prestigious ensemble."

RSNO Music Director Peter Oundjian: "It gives me great pleasure to announce the appointments of Paul and Luis to the RSNO. Their musicianship and personalities make a perfect fit for us and I look forward to working with them. Furthermore, I would like to extend my deep appreciation to Martin and Rosina for each of their many years of dedicated service."

The RSNO has made several key appointments recently, including Leader Sharon Roffman, who joins the Orchestra next month, Andrew McLean as Associate Principal Horn, Peter Dykes as Associate Principal Oboe, Lena Zeliszewska as Associate Principal Violin, Principal Trumpet Christopher Hart and Principal Horn Christopher Gough.

In May, it was announced that Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is to succeed Peter Oundjian as RSNO Music Director at the close of the current Season. Søndergård has been the RSNO's Principal Guest Conductor since 2012. In June, Elim Chan was appointed as Principal Guest Conductor and will conduct her first concerts in-post in autumn 2018, details of which will be announced in March.

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