Get to know Artist in Residence Simon Trpčeski - Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Get to know Artist in Residence Simon Trpčeski

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Get to know Artist in Residence Simon Trpčeski Posted Thu 4 April 2024

Get to know Artist in Residence Simon Trpčeski

(5 minute read)

Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski is the RSNO’s 2023:24 Artist in Residence. In this short interview, we ask him what he enjoys most about Scotland, performing with the RSNO and the concerts he is looking forward to.

What is it like being Artist in Residence of the RSNO?

It is certainly a great honour to be the RSNO’s Artist in Residence. What gives me the most pleasure is the opportunity to share music-making with the Scottish audience over the Season, together with the RSNO. The Orchestra is the musical pride of Scotland and one of the best in the region, not only in the UK, and their tours are recognised internationally as well. So far, I have done the first half of my Residency, which went wonderfully and included both RSNO concerts and a recital, and I am very much looking forward to the second part of it, which will bring even more variety.

What do you enjoy most about coming to Scotland?

No matter how far Scotland is from my country Macedonia, I have always enjoyed the hospitality, positivity, openness and warmth of the Scottish people and it honestly strikes me in the most beautiful way, because we do share those characteristics of mentality and culture. It is very interesting. They have always welcomed me very warmly at the concerts and they are not afraid to express themselves, which I highly cherish. Our nations are also connected by struggle throughout our histories and the pride for which people have been fighting for years. I do hope that in the future I will have more chance to explore a bit more of this beautiful country especially the architecture, art and natural beauty.

Who’s your favourite composer to perform?

This is a difficult question because I would not do right to the others that I would separate from the ones I would choose! The fact is that I feel very privileged to have the chance to play such a great variety of gorgeous music written by many composers who have left us such a fortune. Deeply in myself I am a romantic, but this does not categorise me only in that musical style. The variety of the beautiful music by different phenomenal storytellers – the composers themselves – do open many challenges for the expression of the diversity of my personality.

You have chosen to perform the Saint-Saёns’ Piano Concertos during the Season. Why did you choose these pieces?

Saint Saёns came into conversation in a very spontaneous way. He is a composer that I really like and I have performed his second concerto often. The ease with which my artistic ideas and wishes were combined with those of the RSNO’s team made constructing our programmes even more exciting. In many ways, Saint-Saёns is a bit neglected as a professional composer. If one pays more attention and analyses his music we can see his fantastic talent; the lightness with which he chose his music’s material and its compositional structure, including the mastery of the tonal combinations; his vast interest and talents in different fields, and his curiosity in life, which certainly brought freshness to his music. Therefore, I am very glad I have the opportunity to explore and share this music with the RSNO, supported by the great musicianship of my new podium friend – the great conductor Thomas Søndergård. Together we will explore the French charm and Oriental/North African flair, which is so inspiring and, I believe, suitable to my musical understandings and backgrounds.

In June, we will have a performance by your folk group Makedonissimo. What brought you together as an ensemble?

The love and appreciation of the immensely powerful and diverse folk music from Macedonia brought us together. I have chosen my colleagues who are fantastic musicians to join me on this phenomenal artistic journey which brought us different and, in a way, unexpected experiences, thanks to the wonderful transcriptions of the composer Pande Shahov. We have known each other for a long time, and I believe that real friendship can do miracles. Each of us is classically trained but also has a personal connection to folk music. I think that the combination of the classical education with the knowledge and love for folk music, knowing that all the classical composers appreciated and were inspired by folk music, brought a special expression to this project that shines with energy.

Finally, what can our audience expect from the chamber concert with Makedonissimo? It looks like a fun one!

Audience can expect a very unique musical language that was kind of a surprise for all of us. The classical education and compositional training of the composer, together with various interests brought together a mash-up of musical styles that embraced our varied folk music with unique colour. It is a fun one because this is exactly what we share on stage. Behind that fun there is an incredibly rich and sophisticated chamber music approach, which does provide a very special vibe to the project full of diverse emotions and bombastic energy. Buckle up!


Simon Trpčeski joins the RSNO for two performances of Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No5 on Friday 7 June (Edinburgh) and Saturday 8 June (Glasgow) in a programme also featuring music by Bacewicz, Lutosławski and Ravel. Book tickets here.

Simon’s folk group Makedonissimo! performs on Sunday 9 June in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall New Auditorium as part of the RSNO’s Chamber Series. Book tickets here.

Simon Trpčeski’s performance of Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No2 in February 2024 was recorded as part of the RSNO’s Romantic Valentine’s Concert and can be purchased to view online here.

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