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Thomas Søndergård

Music Director

Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is Music Director of 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.

Forthcoming Concerts with Thomas Søndergård


Cancelled: Season Finale: Verdi Requiem

Please note this concert has been cancelled.

The safety of our audience, supporters, musicians and staff is of the utmost importance to the RSNO and in line with advice from the Scottish Government concerning mass gatherings and events, the RSNO has cancelled this performance.

Visit rsno.org.uk/coronavirus for details on cancellations and…

Fri 29 May 2020, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Cancelled: Season Finale: Verdi Requiem

Cancelled: Season Finale: Verdi Requiem

Please note this concert has been cancelled.

The safety of our audience, supporters, musicians and staff is of the utmost importance to the RSNO and in line with advice from the Scottish Government concerning mass gatherings and events, the RSNO has cancelled this performance.

Visit rsno.org.uk/coronavirus for details on cancellations and…

Sat 30 May 2020, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Cancelled: Season Finale: Verdi Requiem

Season Opener: Beethoven Nine

‘Be embraced, you millions. This kiss is for the whole world!’ It’s Beethoven’s 250th birthday this year, and there’s no more joyous way to launch our Season than with his mighty Choral Symphony. Thomas Søndergård conducts the massed forces of the RSNO and RSNO Chorus in this masterpiece which begins…

Fri 18 Sep 2020, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Season Opener: Beethoven Nine

Beethoven Nine

‘Be embraced, you millions. This kiss is for the whole world!’ It’s Beethoven’s 250th birthday this year, and there’s no more joyous way to launch our Season than with his mighty Choral Symphony. Thomas Søndergård conducts the massed forces of the RSNO and RSNO Chorus in this masterpiece which begins…

Sat 19 Sep 2020, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Beethoven Nine

Midori Plays Beethoven

Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert are three of the greatest names in classical music. Between them, they wrote some of the most glorious music ever created – whether it’s the young Schubert reaching for the stars in his endlessly tuneful Sixth Symphony, or Mozart wowing the Paris public with a symphony…

Fri 2 Oct 2020, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Midori Plays Beethoven

Midori Plays Beethoven

Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert are three of the greatest names in classical music. Between them, they wrote some of the most glorious music ever created – whether it’s the young Schubert reaching for the stars in his endlessly tuneful Sixth Symphony, or Mozart wowing the Paris public with a symphony…

Sat 3 Oct 2020, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Midori Plays Beethoven

Beethoven Five

With Beethoven, four notes are enough to start a revolution. ‘This is how Fate knocks at the door!’ he said, and everyone knows the electrifying opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. But if that’s all you know, you’re in for the musical adventure of a lifetime – a headlong rollercoaster ride…

Fri 6 Nov 2020, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Beethoven Five

Beethoven Five

With Beethoven, four notes are enough to start a revolution. ‘This is how Fate knocks at the door!’ he said, and everyone knows the electrifying opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. But if that’s all you know, you’re in for the musical adventure of a lifetime – a headlong rollercoaster ride…

Sat 7 Nov 2020, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Beethoven Five

Swan Lake

Between day and night, between memories and dreams – that’s where the imagination runs wild. And it never runs wilder, or more gloriously free, then in Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s shimmering, sensuous Song of the Night. Thomas Søndergård adores this music, and he’s woven it into a sequence that embraces…

Fri 11 Dec 2020, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Swan Lake

Swan Lake

Between day and night, between memories and dreams – that’s where the imagination runs wild. And it never runs wilder, or more gloriously free, then in Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s shimmering, sensuous Song of the Night. Thomas Søndergård adores this music, and he’s woven it into a sequence that embraces…

Sat 12 Dec 2020, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Swan Lake

Bruch Scottish Fantasy

Elgar’s epic First Symphony is packed with stirring melodies, but it’s driven by secret longings and dark emotions. Thomas Adès Powder Her Face portrays the scandalous Duchess of Argyll in music that simply refuses to sit down and be polite. And who’d have guessed that one of the all-time great…

Fri 12 Feb 2021, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Bruch Scottish Fantasy

Bruch Scottish Fantasy

Elgar’s epic First Symphony is packed with stirring melodies, but it’s driven by secret longings and dark emotions. Thomas Adès Powder Her Face portrays the scandalous Duchess of Argyll in music that simply refuses to sit down and be polite. And who’d have guessed that one of the all-time great…

Sat 13 Feb 2021, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Bruch Scottish Fantasy

Sibelius One

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…

Fri 12 Mar 2021, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Sibelius One

Sibelius One

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…

Sat 13 Mar 2021, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Sibelius One

Nicola Benedetti with NYOS & RSNO

There’s nothing quite like Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony: music with the power of an artillery barrage, a life-or-death struggle for freedom, written in a city under siege. Imagine hearing it unleashed by the combined forces of the RSNO and the superb young players of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. And…

Fri 16 Apr 2021, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Nicola Benedetti with NYOS & RSNO

Nicola Benedetti with NYOS & RSNO

There’s nothing quite like Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony: music with the power of an artillery barrage, a life-or-death struggle for freedom, written in a city under siege. Imagine hearing it unleashed by the combined forces of the RSNO and the superb young players of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. And…

Sat 17 Apr 2021, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Nicola Benedetti with NYOS & RSNO

Season Finale: Mahler Two

A man stands alone at a graveside and takes the first step on a journey that will take him to the end of the world – and beyond. Heaven and hell, joy and terror, Viennese waltzes and distant trumpets… this is Mahler’s epic Resurrection Symphony packed with emotion. Thomas Søndergård…

Fri 4 Jun 2021, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Box Office: 0131 228 1155

Season Finale: Mahler Two

Season Finale: Mahler Two

A man stands alone at a graveside and takes the first step on a journey that will take him to the end of the world – and beyond. Heaven and hell, joy and terror, Viennese waltzes and distant trumpets… this is Mahler’s epic Resurrection Symphony packed with emotion. Thomas Søndergård…

Sat 5 Jun 2021, 7.30PM
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Box Office: 0141 353 8000

Season Finale: Mahler Two

© Royal Scottish National Orchestra 2020