RSNO Chief Executive appointed to top role in the USA

Dr Krishna Thiagarajan appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Seattle Symphony

Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) begins the search for a new Chief Executive as the current incumbent, Dr Krishna Thiagarajan prepares to take up a new appointment as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Seattle Symphony, it was announced today (Monday 18 June). Thiagarajan will leave the RSNO in September this year.

Thiagarajan’s tenure has driven a successful partnership of organisational and artistic direction. Under his leadership the RSNO has increased the number of its performances, both at home and abroad, enjoyed the highest average audience figures for a generation, enjoyed year on year growth in earned and contributed income and developed its international reputation, notably through a discography which attracts recognition globally. During this time Thiagarajan has developed a partnership with Music Director, Peter Oundjian. Together Oundjian and Thiagarajan have built the Orchestra’s profile and reputation, made possible partly by the opening of the RSNO’s new premises in Glasgow, the RSNO Centre.

Supported by the Scottish Government’s International Touring Fund the RSNO developed its ambassadorial role in recent years, making its first visit to China, reintroducing the Orchestra to audiences in the USA and completing successful tours of Spain and central Europe. In terms of recordings, the RSNO has achieved the notable position of being one of the busiest recording ensembles in Europe, producing critically-acclaimed releases on the Chandos, Linn and Dutton labels.

Thiagarajan oversaw two new appointments to the RSNO Artistic Team last year. In October 2018 Thomas Søndergård will take over as Music Director, having been the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor since 2012, and Elim Chan also begins her tenure as Principal Guest Conductor in the autumn.

The Orchestra’s CD, Astar, which was distributed by Scotland’s Registry Office to every child born in Scotland, approximately 85,000, was developed into an app last year in collaboration with the University of Abertay Dundee and distributed as part of the Scottish Government’s Baby Boxes scheme, an element of RSNO Music for Life, an initiative launched in 2016, which provides access to high quality music-making experiences for all, regardless of age or ability.

The RSNO’s recent achievements, both on and off the concert platform, have been made possible through continued support from the Scottish Government and an increasing number of private supporters. The RSNO has both sustained and grown vital relationships with corporate partners, trusts, foundations and individuals, welcoming new supporters to the Orchestra.

RSNO Chief Executive Dr Krishna Thiagarajan: “It has been an honour and a pleasure to be a part of an excellent team at the RSNO. The organisation is in strong artistic and administrative shape with new and growing audiences for its performances and engagement programmes across Scotland.  It has been one of our aims to increase the Orchestra’s presence on the international arena in recent years and to see the audience’s response to performances in the USA and Europe has been a personal highlight during my time here.

“The decision to leave Scotland was a very difficult one for me, as this is a terrific team of musicians, Chorus and Youth Chorus members, and a committed and highly capable staff. I would like to thank them, our audiences, supporters and our exceptional Board of Trustees for the support they have given to the RSNO. I would also like to specially express my gratitude to Dame Susan Bruce and Peter Oundjian whose dedicated support for me and the team made this recent period of extraordinary growth possible. I anticipate seeing great things from the RSNO in future.”

RSNO Board Chair, Dame Sue Bruce: “It has been a real pleasure working with Krishna throughout his tenure. The Orchestra is in very good form indeed. During Krishna’s time with the RSNO we have settled into our new purpose-built state-of-the-art facility in Glasgow, increased the frequency of our international touring, enjoyed successive outstanding Seasons, reaching a wider audience and improving our financial standing. We have been very fortunate to have him as our Chief Executive and he leaves this organisation in a very strong position for his successor. On behalf of the Board I would like to extend our thanks him for all he has done for the RSNO and I wish him every success in his new role."

The RSNO has begun the international search for a successor to Dr Krishna Thiagarajan and will announce interim arrangements in due course.

For more information on future RSNO events please visit

Scotland receives premiere of Han Solo theme

Scotland’s national orchestra will be the second in the world to play new Star Wars film music live

Music from the latest Star Wars film Solo - A Star Wars Story will be performed live for the first time outside of the USA this week, by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) to audiences in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.


The RSNO will present the Rest-of-World premiere of a theme written by multiple award-winning composer John Williams for the latest Star Wars film, Solo - A Star Wars Story.  The new piece, entitled The Adventures of Han will feature in Classics at the Movies and will appear at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 15 June, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 16 June and at the Caird Hall, Dundee on Sunday 17 June.


The Rest-of-World premiere of The Adventures of Han follows the World Premiere which was performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conducted by the composer last month.


The score for the latest Star Wars film was written by English composer John Powell, though John Williams created The Adventures of Han theme for the film, reportedly his final contribution to the music of the Star Wars series.


Classics at the Movies is a new concert programme conducted by Richard Kaufman, frequent collaborator with the RSNO. Richard was formerly a musician in John Williams’ orchestra and has played on original movie scores such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Jaws, the latter the RSNO will perform accompanied by the screening of the 1975 Spielberg film as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival next week.


Earlier this year the RSNO performed the Rest-of-World Premiere of music from the eighth Star Wars film The Last Jedi, as part of its The Music of John Williams concerts in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.


Classics at the Movies also features established classical music adopted as film scores for some of the most memorable movies of the past fifty years, including 2001, A Space Odyssey, Trainspotting, Raging Bull, Apocalypse Now, Alien and The Blues Brothers.


RSNO Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement Bill Chandler: “John Williams has been a fantastic supporter of the RSNO for many years and it is testament to this relationship that he has given his blessing for us to be the first to perform this music after him. Conductor Richard Kaufman has been instrumental in bringing this to fruition and it promises to be a real treat for those attending our concerts in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee this week.”


The RSNO performs Classics at the Movies with conductor Richard Kaufman at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 15 June (7.30pm), the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 16 June (7.30pm) and at the Caird Hall, Dundee on Sunday 17 June (3.00pm). For more information and to book tickets visit


For further information, pictures or to request media access, please contact Daniel Pollitt, Communications Manager on 0141 225 3571, 07970 009369, Email:

Congratulations to Thea Musgrave

Everyone at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra would like to congratulate Thea Musgrave on, quite rightly, being honoured at the 63rd Ivor Novello Awards in London last week. Her address from the stage succinctly expressed the power and importance of classical music:


“Whether one dances for joy or laments for loss, we are able to communicate our truest human nature to others through music even as we experience it to the fullest for ourselves.


“The fact that those voices - of the Ancient Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Chinese, Africans - are still heard today attests to both the importance and tenacity of artistic communication. Closer to our time, the fact that Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, Wagner, Stravinsky and Britten are still top of the charts even after all these years, confirms the power of classical music.


“That is the mission I am proud to be part of. I am enormously proud to be part of that legacy.”


Our connection can be traced back to 1961, at the beginning of her impressive career, with performances of Perspectives and Obliques, the latter which the Orchestra commissioned and presented the world premiere.


Thea’s Concertos for Horn and for Clarinet were both premiered in Scotland by the Scottish National Orchestra. This Orchestra also recorded the Horn Concerto (with Barry Tuckwell) and the Concerto for Orchestra for the Decca label. Many more performances of Thea’s works followed, and most recently former Music Director Stéphane Denève conducted a memorable performance of Rainbow at the BBC Proms, a work that received its world premiere by this Orchestra and Bryden Thomson at the opening of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in 1990.


Congratulations to Thea, one of Scotland’s most compelling and creative voices.


National composition competition for 12-18 year-olds

Notes from Scotland offers young composers the chance to have work performed and recorded by RSNO musicians


The fifth annual national competition for 12-18 year-olds, Notes from Scotland, invites applications from the countries’ budding composers.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s (RSNO) Notes From Scotland invites young composers to write a two to five-minute work for an instrumental trio, quartet or quintet. Following the closing date for entries in June, five works will be selected for performance by an RSNO ensemble at the Orchestra’s New Auditorium in Glasgow.

This Saturday the RSNO will host a Notes from Scotland composition workshop at the RSNO Centre, Glasgow, for an afternoon session where participants will meet and share ideas with fellow composers and take part in composition masterclasses hosted by Oliver Searle and RSNO musicians.

The Notes from Scotland Final will be held at the RSNO Centre, on Sunday 1 July from 2.00pm to 3.00pm where five shortlisted works will be performed and recorded by RSNO musicians in front of an audience and panel of judges.

RSNO Director of Planning and Audience Engagement Bill Chandler: “This is an exciting and all-too-rare opportunity for our younger composers to have their work performed by professional musicians and have the chance to integrate and communicate with their fellow contemporaries as well those who have established their careers in the business. We very much look forward to meeting our participants for 2018 and hearing their ideas.”

BAFTA, GRAMMY and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Craig Armstrong OBE, famed for his soundtracks to blockbusters such as Moulin Rouge!, Love Actually and The Great Gatsby, welcomed the initiative: “This is a fantastic idea to engage young people in composition and to bring them together with existing composers and musicians to pass on their knowledge and skills. I’m sure it will be an invaluable experience for all concerned.”

For more information and to download the application form visit the competition website,, or contact the RSNO’s Learning and Engagement team on 0141 225 3557 or email The closing date for submissions is Tuesday 19 June 2018.

Social invitation to RSNO Season Finale run-through

Guests to the Orchestra’s Edinburgh rehearsal are free to attend, tweet, post film and take photos, to celebrate the partnership of the RSNO and departing Music Director Peter Oundjian

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) opens its doors to visitors for its final rehearsal of the current Season, and invite guests to tweet, post, film and take photographs.

The Orchestra invites its supporters to join the musicians and Peter Oundjian at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh from 3.00pm to 4.00pm to witness the musicians preparing for the final concerts of the 2017:18 Season. During the rehearsal, the RSNO will prepare Mahler’s Symphony No9, one of the most profound musical statements of the 20th century.

In contrast to the etiquette expected of attendees of orchestral concerts, visitors to this rehearsal will be encouraged to participate in social media activity, using the method of their choice. Audience members will be able to converse in real time across various social media platforms, including Facebook (@royalscottishnationalorchestra); Twitter (@rsno) and Instagram (@officialrsno) using the hashtag #OpenRSNO.

RSNO Music Director Peter Oundjian: “Any performance of Mahler Nine is an event. The symphony stands alone as a pinnacle of musical expression, but also as a pivotal creation which looks in so many different directions before we reach those final strands of musical fragments which ask as many questions as they answer.

“I would be delighted if our friends would join us for the final rehearsal of the 2017:18 Season at the Usher Hall for the chance to share in the preparation for this special occasion. This will be my final rehearsal in Edinburgh as Music Director, and it would be my honour to share it with as many of our supporters as possible.”

Those interested in attending the Social Media Open Rehearsal on Friday 1 June (3.00-4.00pm) are asked to email their request to before 5.30pm on Thursday 31 May.

Opportunities to attend the open rehearsal are limited and provided on a first-come-first-served basis. Applicants' names will be added to a guest list and attendees are requested to check-in at the ticket desk, located near the box office at the Usher Hall.

The RSNO closes its 2017:18 Season this week at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh (Friday 1 June, 7.30pm), and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (Saturday 2 June, 7.30pm). The programme features Mahler’s final complete symphony, Symphony No9.

Following the close of the 2017:18 Season the RSNO has two further special events before its summer break, Classic FM Hall of Fame with presenter John Suchet (Usher Hall, Edinburgh – Friday 8 June, 7.30pm; Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – Saturday 9 June, 7.30pm; His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen – Sunday 10 June, 3.00pm) and Classics at the Movies with conductor Richard Kaufman (Usher Hall, Edinburgh – Friday 15 June, 7.30pm; Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – Saturday 16 June, 7.30pm; Caird Hall, Dundee – Sunday 17 June, 3.00pm).

To book tickets or more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit

Tuba takes centre-stage for premiere

RSNO and Principal John Whitener will perform European Premiere of new concerto


The tuba makes a rare appearance as a soloist instrument this week, when RSNO Principal Tuba John Whitener and the Orchestra perform the European premiere of American composer Jennifer Higdon’s Tuba Concerto, at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday.

The new concerto has been commissioned by the RSNO, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. The world premiere was performed by Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Principal Tuba Craig Knox at Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh in March this year, which was met with critical acclaim, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette saying that, “…Ms Higdon’s concerto was engaging throughout, with angular, dynamic melodies and short bursts of virtuosity…providing a convincing case for the solo potential of the tuba.”


Composer Jennifer Higdon: “I am thrilled that the RSNO is a commission partner on this new work. Your orchestra will always be a part of its history. I’m especially happy that John Whitener is the soloist. He was a student of mine at the Curtis Institute of Music. At that time, I taught a class on contemporary music and it’s wonderful that he is taking on a new work and carrying on this important tradition.”


RSNO Principal Tuba John Whitener: “I am very much looking forward to performing this work from Jennifer Higdon. It’s rare that a tuba concerto written by such a reputable composer gets commissioned. Off the top of my head I can only think of three, the most famous of which is the Ralph Vaughan-Williams, and after that the Edward Gregson and the John Williams. I have to say, hats off to the RSNO, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Curtis Institute for collaborating on such an exciting project, with particular mention to Craig Knox and Jennifer for spearheading the project.


“This concerto is written really well for the tuba. It strikes the perfect balance of pushing the instrument to its limits, while not doing anything impractical, and yet still managing to bring out the expressiveness that the tuba is capable of (and so rarely gets shown off). Tuba players usually have to steal music from other instruments to share these qualities, and it’s exciting to see a new original work that captures them so well.”


The European premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Tuba Concerto appears in a programme which also features Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik’s Landscape and Holst’s The Planets (with the sopranos and altos of the RSNO Chorus), conducted by John Storgårds.  For more information please visit

Applications invited for RSNO Assistant Conductor position

Scotland’s national orchestra seeks assistant to new Music Director Thomas Søndergård

 Applicants are invited to submit their credentials for consideration by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) for the position of RSNO Assistant Conductor, which starts in the autumn of 2018.

The RSNO Assistant Conductorship is a two-year post and is a rare opportunity for emerging conductors keen to develop their talent and experience. Previous post-holders have found their time with a major symphony orchestra significantly improving their career prospects, such as current Chief Conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra David Danzmayr and Music Director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra Christian Kluxen.

Current RSNO Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson, whose tenure concludes at the end of the 2017:18 Season in June, joined the Orchestra in 2016, and has worked with such conductors as current Music Director Peter Oundjian, Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård, Valery Gergiev and Sir Roger Norrington.

As well as leading the RSNO for programmes as part of the Orchestra’s Season, its Learning and Engagement activities and for partners Children’s Classic Concerts, Mathieson has conducted performances for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and National Youth Orchestra of Scotland (NYOS), with whom she is Resident Conductor. Beyond Scotland, the exposure from her work with the RSNO has led to ongoing engagements with London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, RPO, Southbank Sinfonia, BBCNOW and CBSO, among others."

Successful candidates will be invited to the RSNO Centre, Glasgow in August for audition with full orchestra, where applicants will be invited to conduct a mixture of repertoire in front of a panel including RSNO Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård. Following the audition three candidates will be invited to the final round of interviews, from which the new RSNO Assistant Conductor will be selected.

As RSNO Assistant Conductor, the successful candidate will conduct a variety of the Orchestra’s concerts and will also play an active role in engaging audiences and communities throughout Scotland. In addition to many conducting opportunities, a key aspect of the RSNO’s Assistant Conductor role is to receive a supportive mentoring and learning environment, through ongoing professional evaluation and guidance from the RSNO’s new Music Director Thomas Søndergård and player-mentors in the Orchestra. Furthermore, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with guest conductors, and develop the multi-faceted leadership, organisational and public-address skills required of modern conductors.

RSNO Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson: “I would urge conductors who are preparing to make the leap to the professional world to consider applying for this post. It has been one of the most valuable experiences of my career. The opportunities it affords are seldom available; to closely work with world class musicians, conductors, and integrate more fully with an arts organisation’s administrative staff, it provides a holistic experience which can be as enlightening as it is rewarding. More than ever, conductors need to be aware of what it takes to run a successful professional symphony orchestra, and the exposure to all areas of the organisation provides just that. In addition, it’s been a joy to conduct a variety of concerts over the two years, from children’s concerts to main Season programmes. I wish the next successful candidate the very best in the advancement of their career.”

Please click here for a full job description and details of how to apply.

The RSNO is an equal opportunities employer. The RSNO is supported by the Scottish Government and local authorities in Scotland. The RSNO Assistant Conductor position has benefited in the past from the support of the John Mather Trust.

Bernstein anniversary celebrated in Scotland in style


The life of one of the greatest musical figures of the 20th Century is celebrated by the RSNO


One hundred years since the birth of American composer, conductor and educator Leonard Bernstein, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra presents a package of performances in Edinburgh and Glasgow to mark the occasion.
Bernstein 100 is the world-wide celebration of the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, one of the first conductors born and educated in the USA to receive global acclaim. As a conductor, Bernstein was principally known for his lengthy tenure as the Music Director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, but as a composer he is most well-known for his music for the musicals West Side Story and On the Town, the musical adaptation of Peter Pan, the 1956 operetta Candide and the 1954 film On the Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando.

As well as a leading composer and conductor, Bernstein was also a pioneer in music education, among his achievements creating a series of concerts for Young People – unheard of for the time -  which were broadcast on primetime by US national station CBS. Leonard Bernstein was also a mentor to the RSNO’s former Principal Guest Conductor Marin Alsop, who is now Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra.


The RSNO’s former Associate Leader Bill Chandler, now Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement, leads In Focus: Leonard Bernstein, a multimedia exploration of the man and his music, at the RSNO Centre, Glasgow on Saturday 28 April, from 2.00pm until 5.00pm, a presentation that has already been held at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh earlier this month.


On Friday 27 April at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh and on Saturday 28 April at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall the RSNO and RSNO Chorus is joined by conductor Cristian Măcelaru for Bernstein 100: West Side Story, performances of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and Chichester Psalms, accompanied by Samuel Barber’s Symphony No1 and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, with pianist George Li.

From 5.00pm on Saturday 5 May at the RSNO Centre, and in partnership with the RSNO, Hebrides Ensemble performs Bernstein’s Piano Trio, as well as Scottish composer Jay Capperauld’s Les Barricades Mysterieuses, Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, plus a new work from Peter Longworth. Later that evening (7.30pm) at the adjacent Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the RSNO and conductor Kristjan Järvi present Bernstein’s MASS. Originally commissioned by John F Kennedy’s wife Jackie Onassis for the opening of the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the ambitious work, featuring large orchestra, multiple choruses, vocal soloists and a street band, is arguably more relevant now, examining themes of tolerance, inclusion, diversity, faith and leadership.


RSNO Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement Bill Chandler: “Bernstein was the quintessential polymath. Extraordinary conductor, wonderfully expressive composer, enthusiastic teacher, diligent and voracious student. He typifies what many arts organisations strive to be nowadays, yet he was so far ahead of his time. It’s a pleasure to be able to perform his music and present an insight into this truly remarkable life. There is little doubt that we will still be celebrating the legacy of Leonard Bernstein in another one-hundred years’ time.”

UK composer’s work selected for Season premiere

RSNO’s third composer-nurturing initiative yields new piece to be premiered in November

An emerging British composer has won the chance to have one of their latest works premiered by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO).

Michael Cryne, who has recently completed doctoral study in composition at Royal Holloway, University of London and is a graduate of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Composers’ Scheme and the London Philharmonic Leverhulme Young Composers’ Programme, will have his work Open the Eastern Windows – which takes its title from the Henry Longfellow poem Children – premiered by the RSNO in November with new Music Director Thomas Søndergård as part of its 2018:19 Season.

Five UK composers were selected to benefit from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s RSNO Composers’ Hub - the third annual initiative to develop the talents of individuals in the early stages of their careers – and were subsequently asked to compose a short work for Orchestra. One work, by Michael Cryne, has been chosen to receive its first public performances, at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall this coming autumn.

The RSNO Composers’ Hub panel that selected the work for performance by the RSNO comprised Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement Bill Chandler, Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson, Composers’ Hub mentor Stuart MacRae, Composers’ Hub workshop mentor Sir James MacMillan, RSNO Planning Manager Catherine Ferrell, RSNO Principal Trombone Dávur Juul Magnussen and RSNO Viola Katherine Wren.

RSNO Director of Artistic Planning and Engagement Bill Chandler: “This year’s RSNO Composers’ Hub has seen the strongest field yet and we are delighted to have selected Michael Cryne’s work to appear in November 2018 as part of our Year of Young People Concert in our 18:19 Season, one of the first programmes to be conducted by Thomas Søndergård as RSNO Music Director.

“Michael’s piece is an imaginative work of immense colour and intricacy and its world premiere in our forthcoming Season will add another layer of excitement to a concert already bursting with new ideas. The Composers’ Hub continues to be a thriving cradle of creativity and we are proud to support this next generation of young composers.”

RSNO Composers’ Hub participant Michael Cryne: “The RSNO Composers' Hub is an amazing opportunity for early-career composers, and I'm delighted that Open the Eastern Windows has been chosen for the 2018:19 season. It's been a tremendous learning experience working with Stuart MacRae, Holly Mathieson and James MacMillan, not to mention the orchestra themselves, who were really receptive to five challenging and unique new pieces.”

New Symphonic Cinema Tribute to Hollywood Legend Gene Kelly

The Gene Kelly Legacy, Inc. and Warner Bros. Consumer Products are pleased to announce the World Premiere of Warner Bros. presents Gene Kelly: A Life in Music, a new symphonic cinema production honouring the work of legendary dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly. Warner Bros. Presents Gene Kelly: A Life in Music premieres 13 April 2018 at Usher Hall in Edinburgh and 14 April 2018 at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Neil Thomson.

Warner Bros. Presents Gene Kelly: A Life in Music combines the music of a live symphony orchestra with clips from some of Kelly’s best-known movies, including Singin’ in the Rain, An American in Paris, Brigadoon, Summer Stock, Les Girls, It’s Always Fair Weather, his joyful dance with Jerry the Mouse (from Tom and Jerry)  in Anchors Aweigh, plus rarely-seen numbers from Kelly’s television specials. Written and hosted by Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene Kelly’s wife and official biographer, this show brings Gene Kelly to life with his own insights and behind-the-scenes stories about the making of these memorable works.

While most people think of dance when they think of Kelly, music was central to his work. It inspired him and, in many ways, defined him. Working closely with his colleagues, Kelly collaborated with a host of celebrated composers, arrangers and musicians to create some of the most iconic scenes in film history. These giants of the music world—the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Andre Previn, Henry Mancini—will be highlighted along with several “unsung” heroes who made important contributions to the landmark films.

“I am very happy that this special show is premiering in Scotland with The Royal Scottish National Orchestra,” says Patricia Kelly. “It is especially fitting, since Gene loved this part of the world – not only for its natural beauty but for its significant contribution to literature and dance.” Gene Kelly traveled by train from London to Edinburgh in 1953, hoping to shoot his film Brigadoon on location in the Highlands. He stayed at Glasgow’s Central Hotel and at the Caledonian in Edinburgh. Though M-G-M ultimately opted to film the movie on stages at their Culver City studio, according to his wife, Kelly “never lost his love for this place.” Gene Kelly returned to Scotland in 1956, when his film Invitation to the Dance was chosen to open the Edinburgh Film Festival, a gala event at the New Victoria Cinema attended by HRH The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Margaret.  As he said in an interview at the time, “I have always been a confirmed believer in the Film Festival as an incentive to higher standards of creative work, and anyone who has been to Edinburgh will tell you that every visitor leaves with the resolve to do better things."

Since the original orchestrations for the famous M-G-M musicals were destroyed back in 1969, world-renowned composer conductor John Wilson has meticulously re-created the scores, often spending hours to master a few bars of music. As with other symphonic cinema shows, the music from the original soundtrack has been carefully “scrubbed” from the film clips, leaving the singing and dialogue intact; thus giving audiences the exciting opportunity to see Gene Kelly dancing on a big screen accompanied by a live orchestra.