The Royal Scottish National Orchestra pays tribute to Patron Her Majesty The Queen - Royal Scottish National Orchestra
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra pays tribute to Patron Her Majesty The Queen

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The Royal Scottish National Orchestra pays tribute to Patron Her Majesty The Queen Posted Fri 9 September 2022

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra pays tribute to Patron Her Majesty The Queen

Following the sombre news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen yesterday, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has passed its sincere condolences on to His Majesty The King and the Royal Family. Read the RSNO’s statement issued yesterday evening here 


Image above: Her Majesty The Queen, Prince Philip and Dame Jean Roberts, Lord Provost of Glasgow (1960-62) attending a Gala Symphony Concert at St Andrew’s Hall, Glasgow in 1961.

Her Majesty The Queen was a steadfast advocate for many charities during her reign and the RSNO is one of the numerous organisations fortunate enough to have received her loyal support. The Queen championed the arts and classical music, and the Orchestra continues to proudly perform across Scotland and beyond with its Royal title. 

Image above: A copy of SNO Scene from 1977, announcing that Her Majesty The Queen had become Patron of the Orchestra.

It was in 1977 that the Orchestra’s work as a national cultural institution received this great recognition, as Her Majesty The Queen agreed to become Patron of the Scottish National Orchestra in the year of her Silver Jubilee. It was a wonderful year as Sir Alexander Gibson, SNO Principal Conductor at the time, also received a knighthood for services to music in Scotland.

Image above: Principal Conductor Walter Weller meeting Her Majesty The Queen after a concert in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

The RSNO’s home is now adjacent to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, which was granted Royal status by The Queen in 1991. HRH Princess Anne opened the new Concert Hall in 1990, marked by a gala concert performed by the RSNO and RSNO Chorus. Later, in 1991 The Queen attended a concert conducted by Principal Conductor Walter Weller and endorsed the adoption of ‘Royal’ in the Orchestra’s title.  

Image above: Principal Clarinet John Cushing and Sir Alexander Gibson meeting Her Majesty The Queen in 1977.

Notable Royal performances  

In 1956 the Orchestra performed at the Royal Festival Hall in the presence of HM The Queen in a concert that was partially televised. The Orchestra continued to receive invitations to perform at Royal Gala concerts held at the Royal Festival Hall for years to come, several more of which were also broadcast on television.  

The Orchestra has proudly represented the country on many significant and historical occasions. Members of the RSNO performed a specially commissioned brass fanfare by Sir James MacMillan CBE at the Royal Opening of the historic First Scottish Parliament session under devolution in 1999. In 2004 the Orchestra performed again for The Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip at the Royal Opening of the new Scottish Parliament Building.  

Image above: Her Majesty The Queen meeting a little girl outside the concert hall in 1977.

In 2007 the Orchestra’s special status in Scottish cultural life was cemented when the RSNO was recognised as one of the nation’s five National Performing Companies, supported by the Scottish Government. It has been a great honour to perform as a cultural ambassador for the nation. 

This year, the RSNO marked the occasion of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at the Spring/Summer Season finale, as piper Finlay MacDonald performed Diu Regnare, a piece composed by Stuart Liddell for pipers in Scotland to play as a tribute to Her Majesty. 

Last Sunday 4 September, the RSNO performed at the Braemar Highland Games. A favourite event of The Queen’s, the concert was held in St Margaret’s in celebration of Classic FM’s 30th birthday in the company of the now-King Charles III. 

Image above: An official portrait of Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip, provided to the Orchestra by the Royal Family.

At this time of national mourning, amidst the outpouring of shared respect, admiration and reflection it is a comfort to see how significantly The Queen impacted lives across the world.  In keeping with the spirit of her reign, the Orchestra has been advised that the Queen’s wishes were for ‘the show to go on’. Music has the power to provide great solace in difficult times and the Orchestra will continue to perform as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with pride, representing the country The Queen held so dear. 

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