Gershwin & Rachmaninov

Fri 5 Feb 2021, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Ravel Valses nobles et sentimentales
Gershwin Concerto in F
Rachmaninov Symphony No3

John Wilson Conductor
Louis Schwizgebel Piano

New worlds for old. George Gershwin once asked Maurice Ravel to teach him how to compose – he didn’t realise that Ravel was actually his greatest fan! Few living musicians conduct both of them with the sheer, irresistible flair of John Wilson, just as no-one plays Gershwin’s swinging Piano Concerto more brilliantly that Louis Schwizgebel. And finally, big-band glamour meets the Russian soul in Rachmaninov’s fabulous Third Symphony. If you’ve never heard it, you’ll soon wonder why.

6.45PM: Conductor John Wilson and RSNO Chief Executive Alistair Mackie in conversation in the Upper Circle Bar.


£42, £33.50, £25.50, £19.50, £13.50


Under 18s go free when accompanied by a paying adult (max 2 free children per adult); 16-17 year olds go free; Under 26s/Mature Students £6 in advance/£8 after 5pm on the day; Unemployed £6; Disabled patrons and carers 50% off; Group discounts available.

Box Office

0131 228 1155

Featured Artists

John Wilson

John Wilson Conductor

John Wilson is in demand at the highest level across the globe, working with some of the finest orchestras and opera houses. In the UK, he performs regularly at festivals such as Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne and the BBC Proms with orchestras such as London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony and the City of Birmingham Symphony. Elsewhere, he has conducted the Royal Concertgebouw, Budapest Festival, Swedish Radio Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic and Sydney Symphony orchestras amongst others. In the 2019/20 season, Wilson makes his debut with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Basel Symphony orchestras and his return engagements include DSO Berlin, BBC Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestra.

Wilson made his opera debut in 2016 conducting Puccini Madama Butterfly at Glyndebourne Festival Opera on their autumn tour and has since conducted Gershwin Porgy and Bess at English National Opera and returned to Glyndebourne Summer Festival to conduct Massent Cendrillon. He will be making his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City, in a future season.

Wilson has a large and varied discography which includes a series of discs with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra exploring the works of Richard Rodney Bennett, with the BBC Philharmonic devoted to the symphonic works of Aaron Copland and numerous recordings with the John Wilson Orchestra. In 2019 Chandos released Wilson’s first recording with the Sinfonia of London which features Korngold’s Symphony in F Sharp.

Born in Gateshead, Wilson studied composition and conducting at the Royal College of Music, where in 2011 he was made a Fellow. In 1994, he formed his own orchestra, the John Wilson Orchestra, dedicated to performing music from the golden age of Hollywood and Broadway, and with whom he has appeared regularly across the UK. In March 2019, John Wilson was awarded the prestigious ISM Distinguished Musician Award for his services to music.

Louis  Schwizgebel

Louis Schwizgebel Piano

Louis Schwizgebel has been described as “a genuine virtuoso, a spirited young genius with real depth” (Fono Forum) and an “insightful musician” (The New York Times). He is praised repeatedly for his poise, elegance, imagination, expressive lyricism and crystalline articulation. He performs regularly in recital, with the finest orchestras across the globe and has received critical acclaim for his recordings.

Schwizgebel’s 2019:20 season includes debuts with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Bern Symphony orchestras in Europe, with Cincinnati Symphony, Omaha Symphony and Louisiana Philharmonic orchestras in the US and further afield with the Tasmanian Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestras.

In recent seasons, highlights have included performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, National du Capitole de Toulouse, Danish National Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, City of Birmingham Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Utah Symphony, Nagoya and Shanghai Philharmonic orchestras. Conductors he has worked with include Edward Gardner, Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, Emmanuel Krivine, Nicholas Collon, Thierry Fischer, Charles Dutoit, Fabio Luisi, Lahav Shani, Robin Ticciati, Louis Langrée, John Wilson, James Gaffigan, Santtu-Matias Rouvali and Fabien Gabel amongst others.

In solo recital and chamber music, Schwizgebel performs regularly at the major festivals and halls including most recently London’s Wigmore, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Rheingau Festival, Klavierfest Ruhr, Lille Piano Festival and Singapore International Piano Festival, with artists such as Benjamin Beilman, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Renaud Capuçon and Alina Ibragimova.

Schwizgebel performs frequently in his native Switzerland; he has played in the major festivals such as Verbier, Lucerne Progetto Martha Argerich and Menuhin Festival Gstaad and in 2019:20 makes his debut in the Meisterinterpreten series in Zurich. In 2014 he made his BBC Proms debut with an electrifying televised performance of Prokofiev Piano Concerto No1 and in 2018 at the Festival de Radio France in a televised performance of Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue.

Schwizgebel records for Aparté and his latest recording of Schubert Sonatas D845 and D958 was described as an “album of extraordinary precision” by Le Figaro. Previous releases include Saint-Saëns Piano Concertos No2 and 5 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, described as “gorgeously singing and wonderfully delicate” by BBC Music Magazine, and Beethoven Piano Concertos No1 and 2 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra hailed as a “beautifully nuanced account” by Gramophone.

Schwizgebel was born in 1987 in Geneva. He studied with Brigitte Meyer in Lausanne and Pascal Devoyon in Berlin, and then later at the Juilliard School with Emanuel Ax and Robert McDonald, and at London’s Royal Academy of Music with Pascal Nemirovski. At the age of seventeen he won the Geneva International Music Competition and, two years later, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York. In 2012 he won second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition and in 2013 he became a BBC New Generation Artist.

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