In Focus: Sibelius

Sat 23 Mar 2019, 1.00PM
New Auditorium, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Thomas Søndergård Conductor
Maya Iwabuchi Violin
Katherine Wren Viola

Arguably Finland’s finest composer, Jean Sibelius was deeply inspired by the natural wonders of his homeland, and many of his works seem to evoke the deep forests and broad expanses of the Finnish landscape.

Join RSNO violist Katherine Wren as she leads a session discovering the unique sound world of Jean Sibelius. Katherine will be joined by Music Director Thomas Søndergård and Leaders Maya Iwabuchi in Glasgow and Sharon Roffman in Edinburgh to give their own personal insights into Sibelius’ wonderful music.

This event is perfect for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the world of music’s great figures.

Please note, this event is a study day hosted by Katherine Wren (RSNO Viola) and does not feature a live music performance by the Orchestra.

Tickets

£16.50, including light refreshments

Discounts

Group discounts available for secondary schools, university students and music societies

Box Office

0141 225 3584

Featured Artists

Thomas Søndergård

Thomas Søndergård Conductor

Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, after 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.

Thomas has conducted many leading orchestras, including London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Göteborgs Symfoniker, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker; leading tours with Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and European Union Youth Orchestra; Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Brussels Philharmonic; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National d’Ile de France; Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

The 2018/19 season includes his debuts with Chicago Symphony Orchestra joined by Alexander Gavrylyuk, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France and Tapiola Sinfonietta. He makes return visits to Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra of the Royal Danish Academy Copenhagen, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bayerische Staatsoper (Turandot) and Deutsche Oper Berlin (Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet). Plans with RSNO include tours to China and the United States, premieres of new commissions and Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti.

Recent highlights include debuts with Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Bern Symphony Orchestra, Gurzenich-Orchester Köln, SWR Baden-Baden, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and return visits to Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and the revival of The Magic Flute with Norwegian Opera.

A passionate supporter of the music of Carl Nielsen, his most recent programme with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Symphony No. 5) received wide praise as “equal of the great pioneers of Nielsen interpretation… It’s harder 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 works by these two composers with many leading orchestras. In 2019 he will participate in a special concert to celebrate Nielsen’s work with the Royal Danish Academy of Music Copenhagen.

Thomas is also an experienced opera conductor 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 for Kungliga Operan (Royal Swedish Opera). He was described as “a sensation” at his debut with the Royal Danish Opera conducting Ruders' opera Kafka's Trial: "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.

Releases with BBCNOW include Sibelius Symphonies 1, 2, 6 & 7 and most recently a disc which shines light on Sibelius’ tone poems and theatre music, featuring Finlandia and Valse Triste (Linn Records). Other noteworthy recordings include Vilde Frang's celebrated first recording for EMI, and Ruders’ Piano Concerto No. 2 on Bridge Records which was nominated for a Gramophone Award in 2011. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Queen Ingrid Foundation Prize for services to Music in Denmark. Due for release shortly are the Lutoslawski and Dutilleux cello concertos with Johannes Moser and Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin for Pentatone.

Maya  Iwabuchi

Maya Iwabuchi Violin

Maya Iwabuchi is Leader of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, a position she has held since 2011. She began violin lessons at the age of two. Her main influences that remain integral to her working life are professors Alice Schoenfeld and Rodney Friend. Since her first concert at the age of five, Maya has enjoyed an international career as a solo violinist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. Her performances have taken her to major concert halls worldwide such as the Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

Highlights for Maya as soloist include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and she has appeared in numerous renowned music festivals such as the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Bath and Chichester festivals, and the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove. The Strad has hailed her playing as 'simply brilliant' and the Times as 'gorgeous', and she continues to receive praise from the press. A committed chamber musician, Maya has been a member of Mobius Ensemble since 2004, and she has also collaborated with artists such as Steven Isserlis and Gil Shaham.

Maya has garnered much admiration in her role as Leader from artists and critics alike, and has been regularly invited to lead orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Cadaqués and the John Wilson Orchestra. After 18 distinguished years, Maya ended her tenure as Leader of the Philharmonia Orchestra in 2012, having led for major conductors such as Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kurt Sanderling.

Katherine  Wren

Katherine Wren Viola

Katherine was born in Doncaster in 1969. She studied music at the University of Manchester, specialising in performance and composition. She studied viola with John Adams (Halle) and chamber music with the Lindsay String Quartet. Following a postgraduate year at the Royal Northern College of Music, Katherine spent three years freelancing in Manchester with the Camerata and the Halle, as well as playing in touring productions of "Les Misérables" and "Phantom of the Opera”.

In 1995, Katherine moved to Scotland, freelancing with all the major Scottish orchestras and teaching both privately and for Perth and Kinross Council. In 1998, Katherine joined the RSNO. Teaching and audience engagement continue to be a very important part of her work. Since completing an MA in translation, she also writes and translates for various orchestras and recording companies in Germany and the UK.

From August 2016 to March 2017, Katherine took a sabbatical to travel to Shetland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland with her own project, Nordic Viola. She spent time learning about music from the North Atlantic region from composers and musicians based there. She also worked with young people, giving masterclasses, coaching and improvising. The project gave birth to a flexible chamber ensemble dedicated to performing music from this region.