- Peter Oundjian succeeds Stéphane Denève as Music Director
- New Principal Guest Conductor, Thomas Søndergård, also joins the team
- Season highlights include Shostakovich 11; a two-part American Music Festival; Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Sir Andrew Davis; complete Má vlast with co-commissioned visuals; Carmina Burana; Season Finale Gala with Nicola Benedetti double bill; Walton’s Henry V with guest actor
- Naked Classics continues in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen; RSNO Chamber Series in Edinburgh and Glasgow
- Continued collaboration with SCO following successful first season of Aberdeen Concert Series
There is such a thing as the Peter Oundjian sound. It is all about clear, unaffected interpretation. (Toronto Star)
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) welcomes British-Canadian conductor Peter Oundjian, who succeeds Stéphane Denève as RSNO Music Director, as it announces its 121st Season. Peter’s arrival signifies a new direction in artistic programming coupled with an emphasis on ensemble development.
Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is welcomed to the RSNO family, as he takes up the specially-revived position of Principal Guest Conductor. He presents three programmes in his first year. His appointment follows the recent arrival of two new Leaders, a new Principal Cello and Principal Second Violin.
Over the past 12 months the RSNO has continued to grow its audience base. The number of top-level subscribers in Glasgow has doubled and in Edinburgh supporters who subscribe to all Season concerts has increased by 61%. Performances in the first half of the 2011:12 Season also experienced an average occupancy of over 80%. The coming orchestral year signals the future artistic direction of the Orchestra, playing to the strengths of the newly assembled artistic team, whilst continuing to nurture the growing appeal of Scotland’s national orchestra.
RSNO Music Director Designate Peter Oundjian:
It is my great pleasure to be welcomed as part of the RSNO team. I warmly salute the extraordinary achievements of my predecessor Stéphane Denève and wish him all the success in the future. Now, with Thomas’s arrival coinciding with mine, and the ensemble gearing up for a new and exciting chapter, we are very well placed to continue building the excellence of our music making and extending our musical offering to audiences and communities across Scotland.
RSNO Chief Executive Michael Elliott:
Peter’s arrival is a significant step in RSNO history. He and the RSNO share an ambition to excel and inspire with our music and music making, to reach new audiences and local communities, build innovative partnerships and be at the heart of Scotland’s cultural renaissance.
RSNO Leader James Clark:
I have been fortunate to have developed my own relationship with the musicians of the RSNO at a time of powerful metamorphosis within this already strong organisation. The development and nurture of the musicians has been put at the very heart of the organisation’s strategy. Augmented with excellent appointments to the Orchestra over the past 12 months means there is a strong sense we are preparing ourselves for a remarkable chapter in the band’s history.
In his inaugural concert as Music Director, Peter Oundjian turns to the Shostakovich’s overwhelmingly powerful Symphony No11, recognising both the RSNO’s great history of performing and recording that composer, and his own passion for Shostakovich. A central pillar of Peter’s first season is a two-part celebration of transatlantic repertoire, An American Festival. It includes such works as Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F, John Adams’ Harmonilehre and more recent Doctor Atomic Symphony, Copland’s Appalachian Spring and both Barber and Copland’s Piano Concertos. Among the other key highlights of Peter’s season is a concert in which he returns to the first work he performed with the RSNO, ten years ago, Britten’s Four Sea Interludes paired with Brahms’ Symphony No1; Carl Orff’s cantata Carmina Burana with the massed force of the RSNO, its Chorus and Junior Chorus; and, Smetana’s Má Vlast, with specially-created photo-choreographed projections by award-winning New York artist James Westwater, jointly commissioned in a first collaboration between both of Peter’s Orchestras, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and RSNO. Peter finishes the season with a gala concert with Nicola Benedetti (Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending and Saint-Saëns Introduction and Rondo capriccioso) and Walton’s score for the Oscar-winning film Henry V, with a guest actor.
Thomas Søndergård begins his tenure as RSNO Principal Guest Conductor with a programme that forges links with the Orchestra’s provenance. He follows the great Sibelian, former RSNO Principal Guest Conductor Paavo Berglund, with whom Thomas studied. His first concerts present Sibelius’ Second Symphony, accompanied by The Garden of Delights by contemporary Swedish composer B Tommy Andersson and a pair of Mahler’s works, early composition Blumine and his first song-cycle, Songs of a Wayfarer. He re-joins presenter Paul Rissmann and the musicians in November for an investigation of Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique, part of the Naked Classics series. In May, Thomas conducts Stravinsky’s riotous ballet music Petroushka, preceded by Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with fellow Scandinavian Truls Mørk as soloist.
Conductor Laureate Neeme Järvi celebrates a forty-five year association with his Scottish orchestra, returning in March for performances of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, Arensky’s Variation on a theme of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No3 with multiple award-winning recording artist Nikolai Lugansky.
Christian Kluxen concludes his three-year term as Assistant Conductor with three programmes: Romantic Valentine’s Classics in February; with British pianist John Lill for Grieg’s Piano Concerto, paired with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No1 Winter Dreams, and Lars-Erik Larsson’s En vintersaga; and Stravinsky’s Firebird in the second Naked Classics of the series.
The Orchestra continues its flourishing partnership with Sir Andrew Davis and in May the RSNO, RSNO Chorus and Junior Chorus present Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Opéra National de Lyon Principal Conductor Kazushi Ono leads the RSNO for the first time in Richard Strauss’ tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra. Russian maestro Andrey Boreyko returns to Scotland at the beginning of 2013 to perform Dvořák’s Symphony No8 and Dima Siobodeniouk makes his début on the podium with an all-Beethoven programme. Paul Agnew conducts Handel’s Messiah, this time in the spring, Philippe Bach leads the Orchestra for Henk de Vlieger’s condensed arrangement of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, The Ring, an Orchestral Adventure and Gilbert Varga returns to conduct a Mediterranean-rich programme including Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No1 and Roman Festivals.
String soloists familiar to RSNO audiences bookend the 2012:13 Season with Vadim Gluzman performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in the opening concert, Nicola Benedetti presenting a double bill of Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending and Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo capriccioso. Cellist Truls Mørk returns for Dvořák’s Concerto in the penultimate programme, while earlier in the Season Montenegrin guitarist Miloš Karadaglic, the best-selling classical artist of 2011, makes his RSNO début with Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez.
Pianists are a blend of familiar and new; John Lill returns to plays Grieg’s Concerto and Nicolai Lugansky follows the previous year’s acclaimed appearance, performing Prokofiev No3. Jon Kimura Parker makes a long-awaited return to play Gershwin’s Concerto in F. New to the RSNO are Natasha Paremski (Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini), Rafał Blechacz (Schumann Piano Concerto), Saleem Abboud Ashkar (Mozart Piano Concerto No23), Olga Kern (Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No2), Rudolf Buchbinder (Beethoven Concerto No3) and Xiayin Wang (Barber and Copland Concertos).
It is a rich season for vocal soloists. British Baritone Roderick Williams sings Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, Valentina Farcas (soprano), Daniel Taylor (countertenor) and Audun Iversen (baritone) join Peter Oundjian for Carmina Burana, and Lisa Milne (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano), Barry Banks (tenor), and Hanno Mueller-Brachmann (baritone) team up with Sir Andrew Davis for Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
The Aberdeen Concert Series
The successful collaboration with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) at Aberdeen’s Music Hall experienced an 8% increase in average audience attendance and a 10% increase in subscriptions across the Season. The RSNO opens the new Season in Aberdeen and presents three further RSNO programmes including the second Aberdeen Naked Classics.
The investigative series which explores key works in the symphonic repertoire is now in its sixth year and last Season it experienced a 50% increase in average attendance. Paul Rissmann continues to unveil the secrets behind key orchestral works; Berlioz’ Symphony fantastique, Stravinsky’s Firebird and Henk de Vlieger’s condensed arrangement of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle.
The RSNO Chamber Series
The RSNO Chamber Series continues for its third year at St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow and Dovecot, Edinburgh. RSNO Principal Bass Clarinet Josef Pacewicz plays Brahms’ greatest achievement for chamber ensemble, the Clarinet Quintet. String Trio and Brass Quartet combine for a programme including music from Haydn to Arvo Pärt and Classical Strings surveys great chamber works for string quintet, including Wolf’s Italian Serenade and Schubert’s String Quintet in C major.
Under 16s Go Free! Under 26 Tickets
Earlier this year the RSNO simplified its youth access programmes to make it even easier to attend RSNO-promoted performances. Two accompanied under 16s can attend the Orchestras concerts for free (Christmas concerts 50% off) and receive free programmes and those under 26 can purchase tickets for just £5.00. 11% of the audience is now comprised of music-lovers under 26.
Since one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attraction reopened following its multimillion pound refurbishment the Orchestra has performed a tailored programme which has developed a loyal following. This year the RSNO Chorus joins the musicians at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery for the first time. In September Music Director Designate at Orchestre National d’Ile de France Enrique Mazzola combines the forces for A Night At The Opera, two nights of popular arias and choruses including Verdi’s Ave Maria and the Triumphal March from Aida.
The RSNO is supported by the Scottish Government and local authorities in Scotland.
The RSNO is committed to developing creative, dynamic, long-term partnerships with Scotland's corporate sector. The organisation continues to strengthen its reputation for delivering rewarding programmes for its corporate partners, helping to build profile, serve local communities, reward staff and generate exciting stories.
Scotland’s national orchestra welcomes Barclays as a key partner from 2012. Barclays will be supporting a number of new Music Director Peter Oundjian’s programmes.
The RSNO's partnership with TOTAL E&P UK Limited is now in its eighth year, testimony to the mutual benefits derived from the association.
The Orchestra's partnership with ScotRail, the RSNO's Official Transport Provider, continues to provide vital transport for RSNO musicians and staff across Scotland, promotes sustainable travel to a wide audience, and opens doors for ScotRail staff to experience live classical music with their national orchestra.
The RSNO's successful partnership with The Miller Group enters its third year with the development of its pioneering programme of musical activities, working with Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) and children and families in Rachel House children's hospice in Fife.
This year the RSNO welcomes the third year of the RSNO's association with La Bonne Auberge, a partnership which supports Children's Classic Concerts.
The RSNO will also continue its successful relationship with Capital Solutions, a partnership now in its fifth year, which presents creative marketing opportunities for both partners.
The RSNO would like to thank all of its sponsors, corporate donors, corporate partners and media partners who make a crucial contribution to the work of the Orchestra: TOTAL E&P UK Limited, Capital Solutions, Barclays, The Weir Group, La Bonne Auberge, The Courier, The Miller Group, Shell U.K. Limited, Cameron House on Loch Lomond, Italian Institute, Prestonfield, ScotRail, Loganair, Park’s Motor Group, Douglas Park BMW, Glasgow Airport, HSBC, First Rule Investment Consultancy Ltd, Gallagher Heath, Smart Graphics, Scots Magazine, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, The Franco-Scottish Business Club, The Scottish Council for Development & Industry, Valvona & Crolla, BBC Radio 3, Classic FM.