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 www.rsno.org.uk.

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.

Musical Museum open to nursery kids

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra guides little listeners on tour through the musical journey

Hundreds of nursery and Primary 1 children from Glasgow and Edinburgh experience live orchestral music for the first time this week when the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) presents its A Day at the Museum concerts to young listeners, at the Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow and at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh.

In Glasgow, this is the first time the RSNO has performed in the Mitchell Library building since 1962, previously known as the St Andrew’s Hall, which was the first home to Scotland’s national orchestra.

A Day at the Museum, conceived and presented by RSNO Viola Lisa Rourke and tailored to suit the appetites of younger listeners, is a new presentation for children between the ages of 3-6 years old. Excerpts from Beethoven’s Symphony No6 Pastoral, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Dvorak’s New World Symphony are accompanied by new music from RSNO Principal Horn Christopher Gough entitled A Day at the Museum and another brand-new piece, from emerging composer and RSNO Composers’ Hub member Neil Smith called Cyched, which is inspired by bicycles and cycling.

Presented by RSNO Viola Lisa Rourke, the concerts are conducted by RSNO Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson and feature colourful, large screen projections and props.

Presenter for the RSNO’s A Day at the Museum, Lisa Rourke: “It’s a joy to welcome our young friends joining us as we take a tour through the colourful exhibits of our musical museum. Each piece of music the musicians play provides a link to a department on our magical tour. In our musical museum we visit exhibits representing animals, books, robots, inventions, space and dinosaurs. For many young listeners this will be the first time they will have heard a symphony orchestra in person, so it’s going to be a very stimulating adventure for us all!”

A Day at the Museum appeared at the Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow on Tuesday 27 March (10.00am, 11.15am and 13.30pm) and appears at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh on Wednesday 28 March (11.00am and 13.30pm).

The RSNO’s Schools Concerts Programme is supported by: The Scottish Government, The Castansa Trust, The George and Mary Firth Bequest, The Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust and The Alma and Leslie Wolfson Charitable Trust.

The RSNO’s 2018:19 Season announced

Thomas Søndergård’s first Season as Music Director

“This is fantastic news for the orchestra. The…Danish conductor is precisely the right man for the job.” The Scotsman

“[Søndergård] brings a massive sense of purpose to music-making, and he certainly galvanises the RSNO into some extraordinary playing at all extremes of expression…” The Herald

“[Chan] made a big impression with both players and the critics.” International Arts Manager

Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård, RSNO Principal Guest Conductor since 2012, assumes his role as the 36th individual to occupy the chief post of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s Artistic Team from October 2018, succeeding Peter Oundjian as Music Director. Last year the RSNO musicians voted overwhelmingly in favour of Søndergård’s appointment, who follows in the footsteps of previous Music Directors/Principal Conductors such as Sir George Henschel, George Szell, Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Alexander Gibson and Neeme Järvi, and is contracted for an initial four-year term.

The post of Principal Guest Conductor, made vacant by Søndergård’s promotion to Music Director, has been filled by Hong-Kong born Elim Chan, previous winner of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Donatella Flick Conducting Competition and Dudamel fellowship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2016:17.

In Søndergård’s first Season as Music Director the RSNO will provide an insight into the future direction of the National Orchestra’s programming under his leadership, which includes the commencement of Mahler and Prokofiev symphonic cycles over four Seasons, performances of established works by Adès, Beethoven, Bruckner, Britten, Elgar, Gershwin, Grieg, Mozart, Poulenc, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, Sibelius, and Walton, as well as new music by Lotta Wennäkoski, Ken Johnston, Gary Carpenter, Wynton Marsalis and Paul Chihara.

RSNO Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård: “I have intimated previously that, as cliché as it may sound, I had the feeling from the very beginning of our relationship that we shared a special sense of purpose. I’m delighted that we have not succumbed to the ‘seven-year itch’, and that the Orchestra has chosen me as its Music Director for the next chapter in its journey. I love working with these musicians, I feel at home in Scotland, and I hugely appreciate the warmth and generosity of the audiences we perform to. Now, more than ever, I look forward to visiting the great concert halls across the country and playing my part in providing the quality of musicianship the people of Scotland expect and deserve.

The advantage of getting to know the Orchestra over time is that I’ve developed a feeling for what we do well together. I’ve included music in this Season that I think is important for us to do at this point in our journey together, and also music that best fits the combination of the Orchestra and me – all with a view of where we’d like to be in three or four years’ time.”

RSNO Chief Executive Dr Krishna Thiagarajan: “To a certain extent we must thank fate for lending a hand in getting us to this position. It was the cancellation of a guest conductor in 2009 and the subsequent appearance of Thomas that led to this orchestra meeting its next Music Director. From that first date the musicians knew that this was a relationship we would build and develop. Nearly seven years later and we are now taking it to the next level. Similarly, with the appointment of Elim Chan as Principal Guest Conductor, who initially came to us, stepping in for an indisposed Neeme Järvi last year, we are grateful for such fortune to strike twice. We look to the future with confidence as an exciting, innovative and growing national arts organisation, to better serve our audience.”

Thomas Søndergård
Thomas Søndergård appears for ten weeks during his inaugural Season as Music Director and commences his tenure with the first Mahler symphony, Symphony No5, of what will be a complete cycle over four years. An indication that Thomas will be introducing new works to Scotland is apparent in the choice of fellow Nord Lotta Wennäkoski’s Flounce (which received its world premiere at the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms last year and receives its Scottish premiere here) as the first work to be performed as Music Director. Further indication that Thomas will bring new and exciting collaborative artists is evident in his choice of first guest soloist, Swiss pianist Francesco Piemontesi, who will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No2.

Thomas and the RSNO are joined by 2017 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Main Prize and Song Prize winner, Scottish mezzo-soprano Catriona Morison for the second week of the 2018:19 Season, for performances of Ravel’s song-cycle Shéhérazade, which shares the programme with selected movements from Grieg’s Peer Gynt and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No1.

Poulenc’s Gloria is the featured work in Søndergård’s first programme as Music Director with the RSNO Chorus, which continues to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2018. Thomas welcomes soprano Elin Rombo for the Mass, and also pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk, who will perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No1. These concerts begin with Prokofiev’s Symphony No1 Classical and, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, performances of Ken Johnston’s cantata All Those Men Who Marched Away.

In the Year of Young People, Søndergård’s Guide to the Orchestra exhibits works associated with orchestral music and younger listeners. Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals are often paired, but with two world premieres, including Gary Carpenter’s Ghost Songs, written to mark the 40th anniversary of the RSNO Junior Chorus, and Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos with soloists Christina and Michelle Naughton, it’s a gala event for all ages.

A seasonal Søndergård presents a festive offering in December, with excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, joined by this Season’s RSNO Artist in Residence Johannes Moser for Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, and to begin, Prokofiev’s Winter Bonfire.

In the New Year, Søndergård takes us hunting in the Alps by way of Bruckner’s Symphony No4, paired in the programme with the most complete element of Mahler’s final symphony, the Adagio from Symphony No10.

In February, Søndergård and Nicola Benedetti team up for the Scottish premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto, composed especially for the Scottish violinist in 2015. Robert Russell Bennett’s symphonic arrangement of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Dances from Thomas Adès’ chamber opera Power Her Face complete the programme.

Thomas returns to Scotland in March for performances of Prokofiev’s Symphony No5 and Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, with soloist Olga Kern. The audience in Edinburgh will also be treated to a World Premiere of Paul Chihara’s A Matter of Honor, while the following night in Glasgow will feature Sibelius’ Symphony No7.

The survey of the symphonies of Gustav Mahler continue in May, with performances of his Sixth Symphony, paired with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No23 K488 with frequent RSNO guest artist Ingrid Fliter.

Søndergård’s first RSNO Season as Music Director concludes in dramatic fashion when the Orchestra is joined by the RSNO Chorus for Belshazzar’s Feast, William Walton’s cantata to religious freedom. Sibelius’ suite to Belshazzar’s Feast opens the evening, and Truls Mørk performs Elgar’s Cello Concerto.

Elim Chan
Audiences and musicians were so delighted with Elim Chan’s first two appearances with the Orchestra at the beginning of last year it prompted the decision to appoint her as the next Principal Guest Conductor, succeeding Thomas Søndergård. She returns to Scotland for three programmes in 2018:19.

In November Chan presents Rachmaninov’s nostalgic orchestral suite Symphonic Dances, Dukas’ symphonic poem The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and, with multiple award-winning pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, Chopin’s Piano Concerto No2.

Ever the romantic, Chan returns in February for Valentine’s Day week. Selected movements from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet share this programme with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture. Lukáš Vondráček, who, according to The Telegraph has, “…a marked tendency for winning competitions…” joins Chan and the Orchestra for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No2.

For the penultimate concerts of the 2018:19 Season Chan and the Orchestra perform Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the Scottish premiere of Hong Kong-born composer Fung Lam’s Endless Forms and Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with soloist Benjamin Beilman.

RSNO Principal Guest Conductor Designate Elim Chan: “I am thrilled to be a part of the RSNO Artistic Team and very much look forward to exploring together what’s ahead!"

Guest conductors
Carlos Miguel Prieto
returns in October for a complete concert performance of de Falla’s Three-Cornered Hat. The relationship between the Orchestra and multiple award-winning composer Krzysztof Penderecki extends many decades, who first conducted the Orchestra in 1975. The SNO performed the UK premiere of his First Violin Concerto in 1979. He returns to Scotland to celebrate his 85th birthday, conducting Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No5 and his own Violin Concerto No2 Metamorphosen with Anne-Sophie Mutter as soloist. Sir Roger Norrington resumes his interpretation of the works of Robert Schumann with the conclusion of the symphonic cycle. Gilbert Varga brings new life to Dvořák’s New World Symphony. Philadelphia Orchestra lends its Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe who will conduct Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Nathalie Stutzmann makes her RSNO debut as a conductor with an all-Beethoven programme, including the Coriolan Overture and Symphony No5.

Guest Soloists
Francesco Piemontesi
makes his RSNO debut, appearing as the first guest soloist of the 2018:19, playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No2. BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2017 winner Scottish mezzo-soprano Catriona Morison also makes her RSNO debut, channelling the spirit of Ravel’s Shéhérazade. British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is also new to the Orchestra, who will perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No2 in November. Winner of the 2005 Arthur Rubenstein Competition Alexander Gavrylyuk first performed with the RSNO in 2011 and rejoins the musicians for Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No1. Soprano Elin Rombo appears in the same programme for Poulenc’s Gloria.  More Poulenc the following week, in the form of his Concerto for Two Pianos with sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton as twin soloists. Penderecki’s Violin Concerto No2 will be performed by superstar German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, to whom the concerto is dedicated. RSNO Artist in Residence for 2018:19 is German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser, who will join the RSNO in December for performances of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, and again in April for The Music of John Williams, plus an appearance in the RSNO Chamber Series. RSNO favourite Nicola Benedetti returns in February for the Scottish premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto. Lukáš Vondráček is another newcomer to the RSNO, who will perform Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. Mozart’s Violin Concerto No4 K218 will be played by Francesca Dego. Hungarian violinist Kristóf Baráti, who wowed audiences with the BBC SSO last year, returns to perform Brahms’ Violin Concerto in March. American violinist Benjamin Beilman, described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as, “…monstrously talented…” makes his RSNO debut in May 2019 for performances of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. Scottish International Piano Competition 2017 winner Can Çakmur fulfils his competition-winning obligations next year, coming to play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No3, in a programme that also features soprano Fflur Wyn and tenor Adrian Dwyer for Orff’s Carmina Burana. Olga Kern performed Rachmaninov with the RSNO in 2013 and returns in 2019 for more, this time for performances of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp K299 features our very own Principal Flute Katherine Bryan and harpist Pippa Tunnell in May. More Mozart, in the guise of his Piano Concerto No23 K488 will be performed by Ingrid Fliter, who also contributes to the exploratory concert [INSIDE]OUT earlier in the week. To close the 2018:19 Season Truls Mørk will play Elgar’s Cello Concerto and 2017 Cardiff Singer of the World finalist, baritone Anthony Clark Evans performs Walton’s cantata Belshazzar’s Feast with the RSNO and RSNO Chorus.


The exploratory programmes by the RSNO, introduced in 2015, have been developed for 2018:19. Now titled [INSIDE]OUT and this year presented by broadcaster and musician Tom Redmond, [INSIDE]OUT will explore the musical worlds of Robert Schumann in February (with conductor Sir Roger Norrington) and in May Mozart, with Music Director Thomas Søndergård and pianist Ingrid Fliter, both at the RSNO Centre, Glasgow.

Symphony, Soup and a Sandwich

The now established lunchtime concert series in Glasgow continues for 2018:19 with three programmes spread across the Season. Increasingly acknowledged as a proving-ground for emerging conductors, the forthcoming Season welcomes Tung-Chieh Chuang, Harish Shankar and Eugene Tzigane to Scotland, all for their RSNO debuts, with programmes ranging from Fauré’s Masques et bergamasques and Bizet’s Symphony in C, to Brahms’ Symphony No2 and Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Symphony No4.

RSNO at the Movies

The RSNO’s film music programmes have introduced thousands of new people to live orchestral music, and their popularity has continued, as illustrated by the large audiences experienced at The Music of Star Wars concerts in Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow last February. The RSNO’s film music provision continues to grow for the forthcoming Season.  

The Orchestra’s chief film music conductor Richard Kaufman returns to conduct The Music of Harry Potter in March and The Music of John Williams in April. In January Anthony Weeden conducts and Tom Redmond presents Sci-Fi Spectacular!, with a programme including music from films such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, Avatar and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The RSNO has recorded a number of scores for movies over the years, principally for the Hollywood label Varèse Sarabande, and for the label’s 40th anniversary the RSNO is joining forces with conductor Diego Navarro, flautist Sara Andon producer Robert Townson and the RSNO Chorus to survey some of the music the partnership has brought to bear, from composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, Alex North and Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi. Also joining the Orchestra for this special occasion will be Scottish composer Patrick Doyle and English composer Rachel Portman.

The Orchestra’s partnership with Edinburgh International Film Festival began in 2015 with the screening of Back to the Future at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre with live symphonic accompaniment. Since then the RSNO has provided the live score for films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Next year, Back to the Future will come to Glasgow, due to popular demand.

Seasonal favourite the RSNO Christmas Concert, featuring the screening of Raymond Briggs’ animated classic The Snowman, welcomes conductor Matthew Hamilton and presenter Jamie MacDougall to add a little magic to the festivities.

RSNO Chamber Series
The RSNO’s Chamber Series continues to present its musicians in a more intimate setting. The first of the new Season, in November, features pianist Benjamin Grosvenor playing Brahms’ Piano Quintet No1 and Schubert’s Trout Quintet.

In December RSNO Principal Oboe Adrian Wilson leads the ensemble for Mozart and More, with a programme including Mozart’s Oboe Quartet K370, String Quartet No19 K465 Dissonance and Finzi’s Prelude and Fugue for String Trio and Interlude for Oboe and String Quartet.

In January the RSNO Brass Quintet presents Brilliant Brass, which includes music from Bach by way of Vivaldi in the Concerto in D major BWV972, Morten Lauridsen’s O magnum mysterium, Dukas’ Fanfare from La péri, Arnold’s Brass Quintet No1 and Bagatelle Suite from the RSNO’s own Principal Horn Christopher Gough.

RSNO Partnerships
The RSNO is supported by the Scottish Government and local authorities in Scotland.

Partnerships are crucial to the work of the RSNO and we aim to facilitate local, national and international partnerships with cultural, commercial, public, charitable and community organisations in order to increase and sustain the impact, reach, reputation and contribution of the Orchestra’s work.

The RSNO continues to strengthen its reputation for delivering rewarding programmes for its corporate partners and sponsors, helping to build profile, serve local communities, engage staff and customers and generate inspiring stories.

In 2017 RSNO was delighted to re-sign a new multi-year agreement with long standing corporate partner, ScotRail. ScotRail will continue to be the RSNO’s Official Transport Provider, a partnership which reduces the environmental impact of the RSNO’s busy touring schedule and encourages concert-goers to take the train to concerts, supporting ScotRail’s commercial activities across Scotland. The partnership also supports ScotRail’s developing network of community rail partnerships (CRPs), providing music-making and engagement in communities across Scotland.

Capital Document Solutions continues its generous support of the RSNO’s photocopying and document management services in the RSNO’s new home. Across the Season Capital Document Solutions sponsors concerts from our Gala and Movies series, with opportunities to build the company’s brand and gain access to hospitality at concerts, helping to develop relationships with staff and clients. This partnership is now in its tenth year.

The RSNO is proud to be Classic FM’s Orchestra in Scotland.

The RSNO’s partnership with Glasgow Airport enters its ninth year following the successful 2017 project which saw the RSNO stage two performances in Glasgow Airport’s main terminal. The RSNO and Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson performed two programmes of well-loved classical favourites and invited passengers to the podium to conduct Scotland’s national orchestra.

The RSNO has recently forged a new partnership with the Institut Français Écosse, an association which will support Franco-Scottish cross-cultural collaboration.

The RSNO is also delighted to continue its sponsorship with La Bonne Auberge, a partnership which supports Children's Classic Concerts, now in its ninth year.

The RSNO would like to thank all its sponsors, corporate partners, media and broadcast partners and project partners who make a crucial contribution to the work of the Orchestra.

Principal Sponsors: Capital Document Solutions, Victor & Carina Contini, Gallagher, Glasgow Airport, Harry Fairburn, Institut Français Écosse, Investec Wealth & Investment,Old Course Hotel St Andrews, Prestonfield, La Bonne Auberge, Valvona & Crolla.


Principal Media Partner: Classic FM

Broadcast Partner: BBC Radio 3

Principal Transport Provider: ScotRail

Corporate Partners: Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Institute of Directors, Scots Magazine, The Scottish Council for Development & Industry, Smart Graphics.

Chair Sponsors: Cadenhead’s, Mitchell’s Glengyle, Springbank Distillers Ltd, J&A Mitchell and Co. Ltd.

Project Partners: Children's Classic Concerts, Children's Hospice Association Scotland, Confab, Culture Republic, Dyslexia Scotland, Glasgow Life, Horsecross Arts, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Sistema Scotland, Skills Development Scotland, Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust, Usher Hall, Year of Young People, Young Scot.

Glasgow's performance of Stravinsky's Firebird also cancelled

Tomorrow's RSNO concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall will no longer go ahead due to the persistent adverse weather conditions affecting much of the UK.

Yesterday afternoon the Usher Hall, Edinburgh performance of Stravinsky's Firebird, due to be performed this evening, was cancelled. It was hoped that Saturday's concert in Glasgow would be saved but the high winds combined with increased snowfall have made this unfeasible.

The RSNO will offer patrons who purchased tickets to Stravinsky's Firebird an exchange for any other RSNO 2017:18 Season concert at the Usher Hall or Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on a cost-for-cost basis, or a full refund. To arrange this, contact the Usher Hall Box Office on 0131 228 1155 or the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 0141 353 8000.

The next RSNO concerts, Søndergård Conducts Ein Heldenleben, feature RSNO Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård and soloist Sunwook Kim and will appear at Caird Hall, Dundee on Thursday 15 March (7.30pm), the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 16 March (7.30pm), the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on March 16 February (7.30pm). For more information visit www.rsno.org.uk

Heavy snow extinguishes planned performance of Stravinsky's Firebird in Edinburgh

Tomorrow's RSNO concert at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh will no longer go ahead due to the adverse weather conditions affecting much of the UK.

Stravinsky's Firebird, also due to be performed at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 3 March, is cancelled in Edinburgh due to reasons of safety, though it is hoped that the Glasgow concert will still go ahead.

RSNO Chief Executive Dr Krishna Thiagarajan: "The safety and well-being of our patrons, musicians, staff and visiting artists must always be our top priority. Adhering to the advice from the Scottish Government and Police Scotland, as well as our partner venues, we have decided to cancel Friday's performance in Edinburgh. We apologise to our supporters who were looking forward to conductor Lorenzo Viotti's RSNO Season debut and pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's return to the Usher Hall. We will endeavour to invite them to join us at the first available opportunity."

The RSNO will offer patrons who purchased tickets to Stravinsky's Firebird an exchange for any other RSNO 2017:18 Season concert at the Usher Hall on a cost-for-cost basis, or a full refund. To arrange this, contact the Usher Hall Box Office on 0131 228 1155.

The next RSNO concerts, Søndergård Conducts Ein Heldenleben, feature RSNO Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård and soloist Sunwook Kim and will appear at Caird Hall, Dundee on Thursday 15 March (7.30pm), the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 16 March (7.30pm), the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on March 16 February (7.30pm). For more information visit www.rsno.org.uk.

Daniel wins the ultimate prize - a trolley dash in a toy shop!

Photo: 8 year-old Daniel Rea as Lord Garmadon8 year old music fan Daniel Rea is set to experience every child's dream - a trolley dash in a toy shop, picking up prizes of all shapes and sizes. The talented youngster entered the annual Children's Classic Concerts' costume competition, sponsored by A1 Toys, at their Ghost Train concert, performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Usher Hall, Edinburgh over the Halloween weekend in 2017.

Daniel attended the concert dressed as Lord Garmadon from The LEGO Ninjago Movie. His home-made cardboard creation with hand-painted details seriously wowed the expert panel of judges - Danielle Durieu from the costume department at Scottish Opera and Karen McGrady-Parker, Associate Director at Scottish Youth Theatre. Daniel beat off all the competition from Children's Classic Concerts' audiences in both Glasgow and Edinburgh to win the top prize, much to his delight. Dr Alexis Rea, Daniel's Mum, said on hearing the news, "thank you so much. He will be ecstatic when he finds out. Probably won't sleep tonight!"

Children's Classic Concerts' popular presenters Owen Gunnell and Olly Cox will be there to cheer Daniel on, kick-starting proceedings in style with an enthusiastic drum roll.

The trolley dash comes amongst a flurry of activity for CCC, beginning with Gypsy Jazz, a brand-new concert featuring award-winning Scottish songstress and fiddler, Seonaid Aitken and her band Rose Room. This interactive introduction to jazz will have families literally dancing in the aisles - it starts off in Govanhill, and tours to Peebles and Banchory.

Owen and Olly then visit Additional Support Needs schools in Glasgow and Edinburgh to perform an engaging programme as part of a wider music transition project, supporting pupils as they move from primary to secondary education.
Finally, they take CCC's Tartan Tales concert to the Caird Hall, delighting the Dundee audience with a musical celebration of Scottish story-telling.

The trolley dash will take place at 5:30pm on Tuesday 27 February 2018 at A1 Toys store at the Silverburn Shopping Centre, Barrhead Rd, Glasgow G53 6QR