RSNO launch 2023:24 Season - Royal Scottish National Orchestra
RSNO launch 2023:24 Season

News & Blog

RSNO launch 2023:24 Season Posted Wed 19 April 2023

RSNO launch 2023:24 Season

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra launches its 2023:24 concert series, sharing colourful storytelling, Scottish talent and contemporary excellence with audiences across Scotland.

The 2023:24 concert series brings new voices to the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) as it explores contemporary repertoire alongside popular classics, expands Engagement opportunities with communities across Scotland and brings classic stories to life under Music Director Thomas Søndergård.

  • Contemporary composers, premieres and Scottish talent – With premieres from composers including Victoria Poleva, Errollyn Wallen and Lotta Wennäkoski and welcoming Nicola Benedetti, Catriona Morison and Sir James MacMillan.
  • Strengthening bonds – Partnerships with Dunedin Consort, Sistema Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) continue and a new collaboration with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra announced. RSNO to build on the success of the 2020:21 Polska Scotland series as Andrey Boreyko conducts the Scottish premiere of André Tchaikowsky’s Violin Concerto.
  • RSNO talent – The RSNO Chorus celebrates its 180th anniversary with seven concerts throughout the series under Chorus Director Stephen Doughty. RSNO Principal Cello Pei-Jee Ng to perform Shostakovich Cello Concerto No1 in the main Concert Season and Leader Maya Iwabuchi to play Samy Moussa’s Violin Concerto in Hamilton and Kilmarnock as part of the new RSNO In Your Community
  • Classical storytelling – Thomas Søndergård returns for his sixth year as RSNO Music Director with concert programmes that feature well-known stories brought to life through music including Scheherazade, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Søndergård conducts Berlioz’s Grande messein a bold season finale.
  • RSNO at the movies – Orchestra to mark the 30th anniversary of sci-fi classic Jurassic Park with a screening accompanied by live music. Award-winning Scottish film composer Patrick Doyle announced as Composer in Residence.
  • RSNO Digital Season – Watch three concerts live-streamed and available on demand: Holst’s The Planets, Rachmaninov Two and Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No2 performed by this year’s Artist in Residence Simon Trpčeski

Alistair Mackie, RSNO Chief Executive said: I’m proud to share the RSNO’s 2023:24 Season, presenting an ambitious and exciting performing schedule over the next year.  We want the RSNO Concert Season to be a centre for creative collaboration and innovation, and we’re continually inspired by the artists and organisations that we’re lucky to work with, from Scotland and beyond.

“Our Engagement work in communities across Scotland is supported by and integrated with our performances on-stage. We’re premiering new works created in our professional development schemes within our concert series and curating workshops and education opportunities around our concert programmes. This is shown no better than in December as Sir James MacMillian conducts his Christmas Oratorio with a very special pre-concert showcase from our Community Orchestra who’ll perform a wonderful new piece by Nancy Johnstone, winner of the 2022:23 Notes from Scotland project.

“There are many stand-out concerts this year, and I’m personally looking forward to bringing Heiner Goebbels’ Songs of Wars I Have Seen to Scotland for the first time, performing alongside Dunedin Consort. We’re also honoured to be performing premieres by Errollyn Wallen and Mark Simpson, both co-commissioned by the RSNO.

“Our reputation for performing film music continues to go from strength to strength and this year we’re delighted to welcome Patrick Doyle as the RSNO’s Composer in Residence, working with us on a number of projects and concerts. We’re also announcing a new collaboration with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestraperforming a special arrangement of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue alongside Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.”

“I look forward to welcoming audiences both familiar and new to concert halls throughout the year.”

Thomas Søndergård, RSNO Music Director, said: I’m thrilled to be back with the RSNO for my sixth year as Music Director. The new concert series shows how creative and adventurous the Orchestra continues to be, featuring music of the highest calibre from composers of the past and present. Performing contemporary compositions always helps me to shed a fresh light on the great classics and I look forward to introducing audiences to work by Lotta Wennäkoski and Lera Auerbach among others.

“Programming Berlioz’s Grande Messe would’ve been thought impossible in recent years. I cannot wait to bring over 400 performers, including musicians and singers from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to the stage. This will be an unmissable finale to a concert series that I am so delighted to be part of.”


Committed to bringing varied and exciting new music and artists to audiences in Scotland, 2023:24 will feature a number of guest conductors and artists making their debut with the Orchestra, including Kristiina Poska, Anja Bihlmaier and Jeannette Sorrell. Patrick Hahn returns to Scotland following his spectacular debut last year.

The RSNO will be performing world, UK and Scottish premieres including Victoria Polevá’s Nova and Mark Simpson’s Violin Concerto, written for and performed by Nicola Benedetti and co-commissioned by the RSNO. The world premiere of Errollyn Wallen’s Violin Concerto, another RSNO co-commission, features in a concert alongside Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Nyx and Stravinsky’s Petrushka.

The RSNO’s chamber and matinee series showcase contemporary works with Samy Moussa’s Violin Concerto Adrano, Thea Musgrave’s Niobe for Oboe and Tape, and Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte. This year’s matinee concerts will take the Orchestra to new venues in Hamilton, Kilmarnock, Lanark, Greenock, Ayr and Motherwell, bringing the best orchestral music to communities across Scotland.

Scottish talent is to the fore throughout the year with Nicola Benedetti and Catriona Morison returning and Sir James MacMillan conducting his new Christmas Oratorio in a special concert featuring the RSNO Chorus. Radio star Ken Bruce joins the Orchestra presenting Chart Hits featuring pop favourites from Lewis Capaldi, Queen and Elton John. Tenor Magnus Walker makes a welcome return following his recent debut, performing in Berlioz’s Grande messe.

The RSNO is delighted to announce a new collaboration with award-winning Scottish composer Patrick Doyle, this year’s Composer in Residence. Doyle will mentor the next cohort of Film Composers Lab participants and audiences will hear his work as musicians from the RCS and RSNO perform his acclaimed score for the 1927 film IT. In November, audiences can join Doyle for an all-star celebration as actors Richard E Grant and Peter Capaldi present a night of Doyle’s film scores live.


Partnerships and collaborations remain at the heart of the RSNO’s activity, celebrating Scottish talent and building relationships with the organisations at the centre of Scotland’s cultural life. This year, existing bonds will be strengthened and new partnerships formed.

Following the success of the 2020:21 Polska Scotland strand, supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh, the RSNO will again highlight Polish repertoire on stage and on film. This includes the Scottish premiere of André Tchaikowsky’s Violin Concerto, conducted by Andrey Boreyko (Music and Artistic Director of Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra).

The second year of a three-year collaboration with the award-winning Dunedin Consort will see the Scottish premiere of Heiner Goebbels’ innovative piece Songs of Wars I Have Seen, conducted by Ellie Slorach, and a collaborative Engagement project giving young musicians a chance to compose for period instruments. Dunedin Consort will also perform with guitarist Sean Shibe, exploring folk-inspired music from the likes of Purcell, Geminiani, Sir James MacMillan and Cassandra Miller.

The RSNO continues to partner with Scottish arts education organisations Sistema Scotland, Douglas Academy, Music School of St Mary’s and the RCS, with side-by-side performances, workshop projects and showcase concerts. This year the RCS partnership expands, as Composer in Residence Patrick Doyle works with the Junior Conservatoire on a performance of his score for 1927 film IT, with the film shown on the big screen.

This year’s collaboration with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra will see a side-by-side concert featuring a new arrangement of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, with soloist Makoto Ozone, and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.


Music has the power to enhance storytelling and honour classic tales. Music Director Thomas Søndergård returns conducting eight concerts, with musical excellence and colourful storytelling at the heart of his programmes including Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, Debussy’s La Mer, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.

The RSNO welcomes pianist Simon Trpčeski as this year’s Artist-in-Residence, joining Thomas Søndergård for Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concertos No2 and No5 as well as two concerts in the Chamber Series.

The RSNO Chorus celebrates its 180th anniversary this year and throughout the coming concert series audiences can watch the Chorus and Youth Choruses take to the stage with highlights including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Holst’s The Planets and Berlioz’s Grande messe. Keen singers who have always wanted to join the Orchestra on stage will get an opportunity with this year’s Come and Sing day, with a chance to be coached by Chorus Director Stephen Doughty for a day of rehearsals, before performing Verdi’s spectacular Requiem live in The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

RSNO musicians take centre stage as Pei-Jee Ng performs Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No1 in his first full Season as Principal Cello and RSNO Leader Maya Iwabuchi stars as soloist performing Samy Moussa’s Violin Concerto.

RSNO Engagement projects including Notes from Scotland and Film Composers Lab continue to provide professional development opportunities for those at the start of their careers. The 2022:23 Film Composers Lab winner will have their composition featured in the Music of John Williams concert, one of the RSNO’s most popular events, conducted by Richard Kaufman. The Christmas Oratorio composed and conducted by Sir James MacMillan will feature a pre-concert showcase by the RSNO Community Orchestra, All Together Now, performing a new piece by young Scottish composer Nancy Johnstone, the winner of the 2022:23 Notes from Scotland project, generously funded by the John Mather Trust.


The RSNO’s family and pops programming will bring together returning favourites and new concerts with something for everyone to enjoy.

The Orchestra marks the 30th anniversary of sci-fi classic Jurassic Park with a screening of Steven Spielberg’s award-winning film accompanied by the RSNO performing John Williams’ score live. Audiences can enjoy more of Williams’ famous film music with a concert full of favourites from the 53-time Oscar nominated composer’s best-loved scores.

The RSNO will celebrate Composer in Residence Patrick Doyle’s 70th birthday with a very special evening with stars Peter Capaldi and Richard E Grant presenting work from some of Doyle’s well-known scores including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Sense and Sensibility, Murder on the Orient Express, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Brave. The celebratory concert is hosted in aid of the RSNO’s Engagement work in communities across Scotland.

Much-loved radio presenter Ken Bruce presents a programme full of familiar pop classics in his Chart Hits concert with classical versions of pop favourites from Lewis Capaldi, Queen and Elton John. And the RSNO welcomes back award-winning composer and conductor Eímear Noone for a night of Video Games Music in Concert.

The year wouldn’t be complete without the RSNO’s annual tour of The Snowman in Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Orchestra continues to work with Children’s Classic Concerts, introducing Scotland’s youngest audiences to classical music at Halloween (Myths & Monsters) and Christmas (The Elf Games).

Pictures, brochure and full Season listings available here

Keep in touchJoin our mailing list