Nicola Benedetti and Scotland’s National Orchestra to spend New Year in China

The nation’s best-loved soloist and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra take Hogmanay and New Year celebrations to the world’s most populous country 

Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) will celebrate Hogmanay and New Year together when they undertake their first joint tour of China later this month.

Led by the RSNO’s new Music Director Thomas Søndergård, the Orchestra and Benedetti will perform six concerts in six cities across the country, with the final concert of the tour appearing at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing.

In addition to Nicola Benedetti performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No1 the gala programmes mix that of the traditional Viennese New Year concerts with Scottish-influenced compositions, including Debussy’s Marche ecossaise, Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Arnold’s Four Scottish Dances, and Peter Maxwell-Davies’ An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise. The works of two Chinese composers also appear in three of the concerts, Yuankai Bao (Happy Sunrise, Dialogue on Flowers) and that of Xiaogang Ye (The Silence of Mount Minshan). The RSNO performed the works of Xiaogang Ye as part of its China Story concert at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in September 2017.

The 2018:19 China Tour will start at the Guangxi Culture and Arts Centre, Nanning (Sunday 30 December), and continue to Zhuhai Huafa CPAA Grand Theatre, Guangzhou (Monday 31 December), Shenzhen Concert Hall, Shenzhen (Tuesday 1 January), Linyi Grand Theatre, Linyi (Thursday 3 January), Shandong Grand Theatre, Jinan (Friday 4 January) and culminating at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing (Saturday 5 January).

This is only the second tour to China the RSNO has undertaken in its 127-year history and the first with regular soloist Nicola Benedetti, who has joined the Orchestra on its last two international tours, across Europe last May and the USA in 2017.

RSNO Music Director Thomas Søndergård: “This will be my first international foray as Music Director of the Orchestra and I’m very much looking forward to playing my part in these gala celebrations. I have heard great things about the levels of commitment this wonderful orchestra gives when representing its country abroad. And to have Nicola Benedetti with us for this tour is an absolute delight. I have had the pleasure of working with her before. It goes without saying that she has a tremendous talent, but she is also such a great ambassador for our industry and for Scotland.”

Violinist Nicola Benedetti: “I am so looking forward to visiting China over the New Year with Thomas Sǿndegård and my friends at the RSNO whom I have known and performed with for many years. I always relish our music-making and can’t wait to play Bruch’s Violin Concerto for the enthusiastic and engaged Chinese audiences.”

Nicola Benedetti will return to the RSNO and Thomas Søndergård in February 2019 to perform the Scottish premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Concerto in D, to audiences at the Caird Hall, Dundee (Thursday 7 February), the Usher Hall, Edinburgh (Friday 8 February) and at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (Saturday 9 February). The work was written especially for Benedetti, who played the World Premiere of the concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2015.

The RSNO’s tour of China is supported by the Scottish Government’s International Touring Fund.

To book tickets or for more information visit www.rsno.org.uk.