Out of the Shadows

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Ryan Wigglesworth makes his debut as chief conductor with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, launching its 2022/23 season

Ryan Wigglesworth (Photo BBC)
Ryan Wigglesworth (Photo BBC)

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's 2022/23 season sees Ryan Wigglesworth take up the reins as chief conductor. Wigglesworth starts things off conducting Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe (the complete ballet) and Messiaen, and then the following evening Wigglesworth is the pianist with principals from the orchestra in Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. Marking 30 years since the composer's death, Wigglesworth's Messiaen performances during the season also include The Sermon to the Birds from Saint François D'Assise.

Intriguingly, Wigglesworth is the first composer to direct the orchestra since its founder Ian Whyte, and in an interview with The Scotsman, Wigglesworth said, "My approach to conducting stems from being, first and foremost, a composer. I can only ever approach a work from that perspective: how the composer has put things together, how they did this or that. The flip side applies, too. By conducting the works of great composers, I’m learning how to be a better composer myself. I’ve never really separated the two."

Wigglesworth will also be conducting the UK premiere of Hans Abrahamsen’s Vers le silence, marking the start of Abrahamsen’s role as the orchestra’s new Composer-in-Association. And in the same concert, Wigglesworth conducts his own symphonic adaptation of Wagner's Götterdämmerung with soprano Katherine Broderick. He will also be directing the premieres of two BBC commissions, Cheryl Frances-Hoad's Cello Concerto (with Laura van der Heijden as soloist) and a new work from Jonathan Woolgar.

Other premieres during the season include a new Abel Selaocoe work, whilst principal guest conductor, Ilan Volkov, will give the UK premieres of Øyvind Torvund’s Exotica album and Stefan Prinsunder_current with Yaron Deutsch (electric guitar). Volkov also curates the orchestra's new music festival, Tectonics Glasgow, which returns in April 2023.

Martyn Brabbins, who has been associated with the orchestra for three decades, marks Vaughan Williams' 150th anniversary with his Fifth Symphony and the s score for Scott of the Antarctic alongside a screening of the film. Brabbins also makes his debut as a composer with the orchestra with a short work written for two of the orchestra’s principal violas, to be premiered with another by Sir James MacMillan, as part of an afternoon concert of overlooked Scottish works.

Full details from the BBC Symphony Orchestra's website.

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