Scottish Chamber Orchestra's 2017/18 Season

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra has announced its 2017/18 season of concerts, which marks Robin Ticciati’s ninth and final Season as Principal Conductor.

Ticciati begins his final Season by placing Antonín Dvořák at the core, which is in keeping with the creative programming he has come to represent in his time as Principal Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Robin Ticciati discusses his programmes: “With every new Season it has been an aim of mine to focus on a different composer. Antonín Dvořák forms the backbone of my programmes for this year and in them, we hope to discover, with you, more about this deeply religious man: his early relationship to Wagner, his mentor Brahms, and the world of folk-song; and his eventual journey to the ‘New World’ and the revelation of native melodies.”

Ticciati opens the SCO’s Season with quintessential Dvořák – his Eighth Symphony. Throughout the Season he has carefully chosen soloists to join the project: the Violin Concerto with Christian Tetzlaff, the lesser performed Piano Concerto with Sir András Schiff and, with mezzo soprano Karen Cargill, the Biblical Songs – exquisite settings of psalm texts, written while the composer was in New York.

Ticciati turns to another work written in New York for his final concert of the Season as Principal Conductor - Dvořák’s ‘New World’ Symphony. His programmes are partnered by a feast of Baroque colour with orchestral works by Bach. Robin Ticciati explains his choice: “Bach is not a new composer for the Orchestra, but it is a new composer for me to direct and a wonderful way to introduce that voice into my last Season. When you have in one programme – Bach’s Suite No 4, Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with our Principal Clarinet Maximiliano Martín, and Dvořák’s Symphony No 9 (a seemingly symphonic juggernaut), what is it that brings them all together? I think it is the spirit of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.”

Gavin Reid, SCO Chief Executive said: “This is a classic ‘Robin’ season – highly distinctive programmes, clearly recognisable themes, new paths of discovery, repertoire that seeks to extend the boundaries of a chamber orchestra and some of the most sought-after soloists in the world. While it is not goodbye yet, we are enormously thankful to all that Robin has brought, and continues to bring to the SCO, to music in Scotland and to our audiences here and abroad.”

A strong thread of Bach is continued throughout the SCO’s 2017/18 Season with JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and Cello Suites performed by newly appointed SCO Principal Cello, Philip Higham, who also performs CPE Bach’s Cello Concerto in A minor with Conductor Richard Egarr.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra SOLOISTS

The SCO has long been celebrated for its calibre of solo players and four of its finest are featured this season. As well as Philip Higham, other SCO Soloists include
Principal Viola Jane Atkins, renowned for her musical charisma and energy, in Martinů’s Rhapsody-Concerto; Principal Flute Alison Mitchell teams up with conductor François Leleux to celebrate Bernstein’s centenary with his Halil, and as part of Robin’s Farewell Concert, Principal Clarinet Maximiliano Martín plays Copland’s Clarinet Concerto.
SCO Principal Cello Philip Higham: “I think there is a genuine, natural feeling of support when someone you know more closely is playing a concerto. And when it is someone from within the Orchestra, I feel there is a more immediate musical rapport, because we tend to know the sound and temperament of that player already and want to be on board with everything they bring to the piece”.
The SCO is also delighted to announce the appointment of Sub-Principal Flute Brontë Hudnott.

The 2017/18 Season sees a host of world-class artists making their SCO debuts. Described as one of the world’s most original soloists, Maxim Rysanov, under the baton of Estonian Olari Elts, performs Pēteris Vasks’ Viola Concerto. Winner of the 2016 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, Karina Canellakis teams up with fellow American violinist, Benjamin Beilman for Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto. Australian-born saxophonist Amy Dickson makes her debut playing Glazunov’s captivating concerto, along with a very special event: a new saxophone concerto from Sir James MacMillan. Bringing the 2017/18 Season to a joyous finale is Spanish conductor Gustavo Gimeno, leading the Orchestra through Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, with distinguished violinist and frequent SCO collaborator, Renaud Capuçon.

The SCO Chorus, under its energetic Chorus Director Gregory Batsleer, welcome the charismatic French conductor Raphaël Pichon to mark his debut with Mozart’s Mass in C minor. They also perform Handel’s Solomon with returning conductor Peter Dijkstra, Schumann’s Requiem with Richard Egarr and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with one of the most exciting talents in Baroque and early music Jonathan Cohen.

2017 Grammy winner Mitsuko Uchida, world-renowned for her interpretations of the Viennese classics, joins the SCO and Robin Ticciati for the opening concert of its 2017/18 Season, playing Mozart Piano Concerto in B-flat, K595. Throughout the Season are some of today’s most esteemed pianists - Igor Levit, Robert Levin, Sir András Schiff, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Piotr Anderszewski, performing works by Schumann, Beethoven, Mozart and Dvořàk. Scottish percussionist Colin Currie returns for the Scottish Premiere of Rautavaara’s most immediate and colourful concerto ‘Incantations’. And, having previously appeared with the SCO to great acclaim as an oboist, François Leleux returns as both soloist and conductor.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra takes great pride in its commitment to both commissioning and performing the music of living composers and enjoys a reputation as one of Scotland’s most prolific supporters of new work. This Season features music from two of Scotland’s most important living composers – Sir James MacMillan and Tom Harrold.

Sir James MacMillan has a long-standing history with the SCO dating back to the late 1980s. His new work, co-commissioned by Perth Concert Hall, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Aurora Orchestra, is a characterful saxophone concerto inspired by traditional Scottish dances (strathspey, reel and jig). This Season, the SCO also returns to an earlier commission by MacMillan - Í: A Meditation on Iona. Twenty years after conducting the premiere, Joseph Swensen returns to perform this atmospheric piece alongside the world premiere of Tom Harrold’s new work.
Tom Harrold first burst onto the scene with his bold, distinctive sound in 2007 when he was announced winner of the BBC Proms/Guardian Young Composer’s Competition at the age of 16. Harrold now has three BBC commissions under his belt, including one for last year’s ‘Last Night of the BBC Proms’, firmly establishing himself as the ‘one to watch’.
Harrold’s relationship with the SCO reverts back to 2010 when he was appointed winner of ‘iCompose’ – a composition competition led by the SCO and National Galleries of Scotland. In 2015 he won the ‘International Call for Scores’ competition hosted by St Andrews University and the SCO. Tom comments:
“I am truly thrilled and excited to have been commissioned to write a new work for the SCO’s 2017/18 season. As a Glaswegian composer, the Orchestra has been a big part of the fabric of my musical upbringing in the city - hearing such fantastic performances at a young age by the Orchestra has stuck with me, and really moulded me into the composer I am today. I am really looking forward to making music with the Orchestra and Joseph Swensen in November.”

The Orchestra is passionate about sharing the experience of exceptional live orchestral music-making and inspiring new generations of classical music lovers. The 2017/18 Season reinforces this by offering all 18 year olds and under free admission to Season concerts. In addition, teachers accompanying pupils to concerts can attend free of charge. The SCO will also continue to offer Under 26s and unemployed £6 tickets, making concerts accessible and welcoming to all.

The SCO is committed to nurturing young talent and is developing its partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland through a series of side by side concerts. The Season also features pre-concert performances from RCS students, St Mary’s Music School, Broughton High School, Douglas Academy and Aberdeen City Music School.