RSNO appoints new Assistant Conductor

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Holly Mathieson beats over 300 applicants to join Scotland’s national orchestra for two years

New Zealand conductor Holly Mathieson, currently based in the UK, has been appointed as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s (RSNO) new Assistant Conductor, following a recruitment process which attracted over three-hundred applicants world-wide.

Holly has previously been assistant to former RSNO Principal Guest Conductor Marin Alsop, Assistant Conductor to Donald Runnicles at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and continues as conductor for the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland’s Junior Orchestra. She succeeds Jean-Claude Picard, who concluded his term as Assistant Conductor last year and was subsequently promoted to RSNO Associate Conductor for an additional season. Jean-Claude conducts his final performance with the RSNO as Associate Conductor on Saturday 18 June.

The RSNO Assistant Conductorship is a two-year post, and benefits from the continued support of the John Mather Charitable Trust. The scheme is a rare opportunity for conductors keen to develop their talent and experience, and previous post-holders have found their time with a major symphony orchestra significantly improved their career prospects. Former Assistant Conductors have gone on to lead major symphony orchestras. Christian Kluxen is signed to major international artistic agency Hazard Chase and David Danzmayr is now Music Director of Ohio’s ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra.

Seven candidates were invited to the RSNO Centre in May for audition with full orchestra, where the applicants were invited to conduct a mixture of repertoire. Following the audition three candidates were invited to the final round of interviews.

As RSNO Assistant Conductor, Holly Mathieson 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 provide a supportive mentoring and learning environment, through on-going professional evaluation and guidance from RSNO Music Director Peter Oundjian and player-mentors in the Orchestra. Furthermore, Holly will have the opportunity to work with many guest conductors, and develop the multi-faceted leadership, organisational and public address skills required of modern conductors.

RSNO Chief Executive Krishna Thiagarajan: “We received applications from many talented individuals but Holly’s application presented everything we were looking for. She is already an accomplished musician, having gained experience as a conductor with several ensembles including our friends at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, so it’s pleasing to be able to continue the Scottish connection for her and to use that experience to her and our advantage. It gives me great pleasure in welcoming her to the RSNO family. In the coming years she will play a vital and rewarding role in the musical life of Scotland.”

New RSNO Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson: "I am absolutely delighted to be coming back to Glasgow to take on the position of Assistant Conductor with the RSNO. With the calibre of conductors regularly working with the Orchestra, the breadth of repertoire and the active nature of the role, this is rightly considered one of the greatest assistant conductor positions around the world. Not least, I am really humbled to be able to work under Peter Oundjian and Thomas Søndergård for the next two years, and learn as much as I can from them both and the wonderful players. I'm strongly connected to my Scottish ancestry, and have existing ties with Glasgow through NYOS, RCS and BBCSSO, so it really feels like I'm coming back to one of my home cities."