Royal Scottish National Orchestra Unveils its First Season under New Music Director

  Peter Oundjian will be the new music director  (SRT)

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra today announced their first season under new music director, Peter Oundjian (pictured here on the shores of Loch Lomond).  Oundjian, who is also music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, brings a New World focus to his first season, including two American Festivals featuring music by, among others, Copland, Bernstein and John Adams.  Adams is a particular love for his: he will be conducting the orchestra’s first forays into both Harmonielehre and the Doctor Atomic Symphony, and he hopes to introduce more contemporary music to the orchestra’ repertoire at a future stage.

Peter Oundjian photo courtesy of RSNO

Brahms is another of Oundjian’s loves: his Third Symphony featured in Oundjian’s first concert as music director designate, and the First Symphony will feature in his second concert as full music director.  He plans a big opening statement in the first concert, however, with an all-Russian programme culminating in Shostakovich’s awesome Eleventh Symphony.   He plans an equally big culmination to the season, a gala concert featuring Nicola Benedetti and a guest actor (to be announced) in Walton’s Henry V Suite.  Other eye-catching projects include Carmina Burana and a full cycle of Má Vlast accompanied by specially commissioned visuals from photochoreographer (!) James Westwater.

Thomas Søndergård commences his tenure as Principal Guest Conductor with programmes including Sibelius 2 and the 1947 version of Petrouchka, and Christian Kluxen concludes his term as Assistant Conductor with the Valentine’s concert as well as two concerts featuring Stravinsky and the Grieg Concerto with John Lill. Other guest conductors include returning favourites like Neema Järvi, who conducts Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, and Andrew Davis who conducts Elijah, as well as new faces like Kazushi Ono who conducts Also Sprach Zarathustra.  Featured soloists include, in addition to the above, Vadim Gluzman, who plays the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 in the opening concert, and guitar wizard Miloš Karadaglic in the Concierto de Aranjuez, as well as six pianists making their RSNO debuts.  A host of vocal soloists join with the chorus for Carmina Burana and Elijah, while Roderick Williams sings Mahler’s Wayfarer Songs.  Naked Classics also returns with the Symphonie Fantastique, The Firebird and Henk de Vlieger’s take on Wagner’s Ring.

Oundjian says that he wants to build on the orchestra’s outstanding success so far, but that he is also interested in ensemble and in getting the orchestra to work on a new kind of blend.  I’ve said before that he has yet to make a strong impression on me, but first seasons make a complex range of statements, and whatever the outcome it should be exciting watch him make this orchestra his own.

Full details of the RSNO’s new season can be found at

Simon Thompson







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