Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Maxim Emelyanychev's eclectic second season with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Maxim Emelyanychev & the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Photo Ryan Buchanan)
Maxim Emelyanychev & the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Photo Ryan Buchanan)
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's 2020/21 season sees principal conductor Maxim Emelyanychev celebrating his second season with them, with an eclectic mix of programming, plus premieres by Anna Clyne, Karine Polwart and Pippa Murphy, and Julian Anderson along with music by Andrea Tarrodi, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Pēteris Vasks, Oliver Knussen, George Benjamin, John Adams and Einojuhani Rautavaara.

Emelyanychev opens the season with John Adams, Tchaikovsky and Bruch's Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti, and he continues with Adams' Violin Concerto (with Josef Špaček), Mozart's Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, Schubert, Poulenc and Prokofiev, alongside Stravinsky's complete Pulcinella. Emelyanychev is the soloist in Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.5, and he ends the season with Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem, and a programme of Ravel, Mendelssohn and Rimsky-Korsakov.

The orchestra's Associate Composer is Anna Clyne and she has three premieres in the new season, Overflow which marks Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters and is inspired by Emily Dickinson's poem By the Sea, a new work for a cappella choir to be performed by the SCO Chorus, and a new work conducted by Andrew Manze in February 2021.

Other new music in the orchestra's season includes folk-artist and theatre-maker Karine Polwart and composer and sound designer Pippa Murphy examining climate change in If You See Me, Weep, the title coming from one of The Hunger Stones, ancient drought markers in the River Elbe which serve as both memorials to past hardships and warnings to future generations. The works movements will be interspersed throughout a programme directed by Pekka Kuusisto, which also includes music by Beethoven, Andrea Tarrodi, Erkki-Sven Tüür, and Pēteris Vasks.

Other highlights include countertenor Iestyn Davies, soprano Lydia Teuscher and baritone Matthew Brook in an evening of Handel conducted by Bernard Labadie, tenor Allan Clayton and horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill in Britten's Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, cellist Alban Gerhardt in the Scottish premiere of Julian Anderson’s Cello Concerto ‘Litanies,’ written in memory of Oliver Knussen whose music is included in Sir George Benjamin's programme with the orchestra alongside Benjamin's own music, and Ravel.

Saxophonist Jess Gilham makes her debut with the orchestra in John Adams' Saxophone Concerto, soprano Carolyn Sampson performs Canteloube's Songs of the Auvergne pianist Gabriela Montero is the soloist in Clara Schumann's early Piano Concerto (written, with some help from Robert, when she was in her teens), and Colin Currie performs Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Percussion Concerto ‘Incantations’ conducted by John Storgårds.

The SCO Youth Academy launches in Autumn 2020. It is a new, unique and distinct youth orchestra for school-aged musicians, who will work with top professionals over a series of Sunday afternoon sessions in the centre of Edinburgh. Designed to enhance and complement existing provision, it builds on the success of the SCO String Academy (launched 2019) and the SCO Wind Academy (launched 2020) and aims to enhance musical learning in a welcoming environment. Conducted by SCO violinist Gordon Bragg and tutored by SCO musicians, the SCO Youth Academy is open to aspiring school-aged orchestral musicians who have reached Grade 6+ and who are able to commit to a series of sessions. Applications open in April. For more information see the SCO website.

 Full details of all the SCO's concerts from its website.

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