Sibelius One

Fri 12 Mar 2021, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Elgar Selection from The Wand of Youth Suites
Mozart Piano Concerto No9 Jeunehomme K271
Sibelius Symphony No1

Thomas Søndergård Conductor
Makoto Ozone Piano

Meet Japanese keyboard phenomenon Makoto Ozone – a jazz legend as well as a master of the classical piano, whose Mozart simply has to be heard to be believed. He’s the centre of a kaleidoscope of a concert which begins with Elgar’s musical trip back to his own childhood, and ends with the elemental power and radiant hues of a real Thomas Søndergård speciality: Sibelius’ First Symphony – music of endless horizons and melodies that glow like the Northern Lights.

Dedicated to the Lillie Bequest Fund in recognition of the RSNO Foundation’s generous support.

6.45PM: Pianist Makoto Ozone and RSNO Director of Concerts & Engagement Bill Chandler 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.

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0131 228 1155

Featured Artists

Thomas Søndergård

Thomas Søndergård Conductor

Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is Music Director of Royal Scottish National Orchestra, following six seasons as Principal Guest Conductor. He served as Principal Conductor of BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBCNOW) from September 2012 – August 2018, and prior to this, as Principal Conductor and Musical Advisor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra for three seasons.

He has conducted many leading orchestras, including Chicago Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Bamberger Symphoniker; leading tours with Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and European Union Youth Orchestra; Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Brussels Philharmonic; Swedish Radio Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Houston Symphony and Seattle Symphony.

The 2019/20 season includes debuts with Cleveland Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He makes return visits to Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Bayerische Staatsoper orchestra, visits the Guildhall Orchestra for performances of Mahler Symphony No. 7 at the Barbican Centre and embarks on a Korean tour with the orchestra of the Royal Danish Opera. Highlights with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra this season include Berg’s Seven Early Songs with Karen Cargill, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde joined by Simon O'Neill and Jane Irwin, recording work, a European tour and performances of the Verdi Requiem.

Highlights of recent seasons include debuts with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, and Orchestre National de France, and many re invitations, including Atlanta Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bayerische Staatsoper (Turandot), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet), Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Gurzenich-Orchester Köln, SWR Baden-Baden, Sydney Symphony, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Norwegian Opera. Recent highlights with RSNO include tours to China and the United States, premieres of new commissions and Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti.

A passionate supporter of the music of Carl Nielsen, his most recent programme with Swedish Radio Symphony (Symphony No. 5) received wide praise as “equal of the great pioneers of Nielsen interpretation… It’s hard to imagine a finer performance of this remarkable symphony” (Dagens Nyheter). As part of the 2015 anniversary celebrations of both Sibelius and Nielsen he conducted a wide variety of their works with many leading orchestras. In 2019 he participated in a special concert to celebrate Nielsen’s work with the Royal Danish Academy of Music Copenhagen.

A highly accomplished opera conductor, he is equally at home in mainstream and contemporary repertoire. Previous opera includes Bayerische Staatsoper (Turandot), Norwegian Opera (Die Zauberflöte), Deutsche Oper Berlin (world premiere of Scartazzini’s Edward II); and Tosca, Turandot (Nina Stemme) and Les dialogues des Carmelites (Royal Swedish Opera). His Royal Danish Opera visit conducting Ruders' opera Kafka's Trial was described as a sensation: "He is one of the best things that has happened to the art of opera for many years" and subsequent productions there have included Il barbiere di Siviglia, Le Nozze di Figaro, La bohème, Cunning Little Vixen and Il viaggio a Reims.

Commercial recordings with BBCNOW include Sibelius Symphonies 1, 2, 6 & 7 and a disc of his tone poems and theatre music, featuring Finlandia and Valse Triste (Linn Records). His first release with Royal Scottish National Orchestra features music by R Strauss, the concert suite from Der Rosenkavalier and Ein Heldenleben (Linn Records). Pentatone also recently released the Lutoslawski and Dutilleux cello concertos with Johannes Moser and Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin. Earlier noteworthy recordings include Vilde Frang's celebrated debut recording for EMI, and Ruders’ Piano Concerto No. 2, (Bridge Records) which was nominated for a Gramophone Award. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Queen Ingrid Foundation Prize for services to Music in Denmark.

Makoto  Ozone

Makoto Ozone Piano

Makoto Ozone is a unique force in both jazz and classical music, blending sound worlds and a host of influences into his performances. Born in Kobe, Japan, he was self-taught in jazz under his father’s guidance, first on the organ, then piano. He first came to public attention when he gave a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in 1983, following his graduation from Berklee College of Music. Ozone then became the first Japanese artist to sign an exclusive contract with CBS and released his first album, Ozone, a year after his Carnegie debut.

His stellar career in jazz, which earned him a GRAMMY-nomination in 2003, has brought him regularly to the forefront of the international jazz scene, recording and touring with musicians such as Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Paquito D'Rivera, Anna Maria Jopek, Branford Marsalis, and others. In 2004, he formed his own big band in Japan, No Name Horses, which has regularly toured to Europe, North America and Asia since its creation. In more recent years, Ozone has expanded into classical repertoire, alongside his jazz engagements. Having first performed Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue in 1996, he now performs concertos by Mozart, Bernstein, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov with major orchestras. Alongside his performing schedule, Ozone composes music, with over 300 pieces to his name, many for No Name Horses as well as a symphony and piano concerto.

In 2014, Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic invited Ozone to join their Asian tour. Following this, he performed with the orchestra at the Lincoln Center, New York, in 2014 and again in 2017, from which a recording Beyond Borders with performances of Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue and Bernstein The Age of Anxiety was released. He has collaborated with a prestigious list of conductors including François-Xavier Roth, Marin Alsop, Alan Gilbert, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Lahav Shani, Thomas Zehetmair and Charles Dutoit and orchestras including San Francisco Symphony, São Paulo Symphony, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, as well as many orchestras in Japan, such as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra and Sapporo Symphony.

Recent highlights include Ozone’s debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France with Lahav Shani, Detroit Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin and Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra with Christian Arming. This season, Ozone will perform with Stuttgarter Philharmoniker with Dan Ettinger, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester with Alan Gilbert, as well as performing with his jazz trio on the East Coast of the United States.

Ozone has an extensive discography, releasing over 30 albums under his name, as a composer in solo, duo and trio settings, as well as collaborating on many others. His numerous awards include the Kinokuniya Theatre Award (2000), Kobe City Culture Award (2005), Fumio Nanri Prize (2007), Hyogo Prefecture Culture Award (2009), Art Encouragement of Education, Culture, Sports, Science Minister's Prize (2014). In 2018, Makoto received the Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon by the Government of Japan. This is Japan’s highest award to individuals who have made significant contributions to the nation’s academic or cultural life.

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