Wednesday 26 April 2023

50th anniversary: Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Maxim Emelyanychev celebrate with a diverse and imaginative season

Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Maxim Emelyanychev (Photo Christopher Bowen)
Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Maxim Emelyanychev (Photo Christopher Bowen)

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is celebrating its 50th anniversary with its 2023/24 season led by principal conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, who has extended his contract through to 2028.

Emelyanychev and the orchestra launch the season with a Grand Tour of Scotland, Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 'Eroica' performed in seven different locations across the country, from Perth to Aberdeen and Craigmillar to Ayr, along with a new piece by SCO Associate Composer Jay Capperauld, The Origin of Colour, which tells a surrealist tale of the creation of colour on Earth. Emelyanychev returns to conclude the season with Mendelssohn's Elijah with Carolyn Sampson, Roderick Williams and the SCO Chorus, a performance that is also coming to the BBC Proms.

There is more Mendelssohn during the season as Emelyanychev conducts Benjamin Grosvenor in the Piano Concerto No. 1. He also conducts the orchestra's official 50th birthday concert, with Elena Langer's Suite: Figaro Gets a Divorce alongside music by Mozart and Haydn, and in March 2024 there is a celebration of The Auld Alliance with Berlioz' Rob Roy and Le mort de Cleopatre, with Karen Cargill, the premiere of James MacMillan's Composed in August, setting Robert Burns, and Maxwell Davies' Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise.

The MacMillan features the SCO Chorus, and the chorus will also be premiering Jay Capperauld’s The Night Watch, a setting of Niall Campbell’s poem, as part of their Christmas concert. The chorus will also be joining Richard Egarr and the orchestra for Bach's Mass in B Minor.

Violinist Pekka Kuusisto returns for typically eclectic programme mixing Respighi and Tarrodi with Vivaldi's The Four Season interspersed with Nordic folk tunes.  In another concert he directs music by Erkki-Sven Tüür and Rautavaara as well as the UK premieres of Helen Grime’s It Will Be Spring Soon and Anna Clyne’s violin concerto Time and Tides, which was written for him. And he is the soloist in Magnus Lindberg's Violin Concerto No. 1 in a programme conducted by Emelyanychev that includes music by Faure and Shostakovich.

Andrew Manze conducts a concert including Ravel's Piano Concerto with Steven Osborne and an all-RVW programme including the Concerto Grosso with young string players from the SCO Academy. Thomas Ades conducts a programme that moves from Haydn to Judith Weir, including new orchestral version of his own The Origin of the Harp. Ryan Bancroft conducts a programme that mixes Ives and Copland with the premiere of Errollyn Wallen's Dances for Orchestra.

The orchestra is introducing a series of Matinee concerts, three full-length programmes performed at 2pm, meaning audiences who prefer not to come out at night are still able to enjoy the orchestra’s work. Building on the SCO’s Reconnect programme for people with dementia, and developing the orchestra’s ongoing partnership with Alzheimer Scotland, the SCO presents three dementia-friendly concerts in the season. The performances are designed especially for people living with dementia, their friends and carers.

Children and families can experience the orchestra live in action in Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow with the world premiere of Jay Capperauld’s The Great Grumpy Gaboon, a new musical adventure written in collaboration with children’s author and illustrator Corrina Campbell and inspired by the SCO’s very own musicians. 

The SCO’s community residency in Greater Craigmillar, Edinburgh, enters the half-way point of its five-year programme later this year. Their most substantial community project to date with cross-artform workshops and performances for children, young people, families and adults to explore their musical potential and help celebrate their creativity. So far, a regular programme of seven music and cross-arts projects have been delivered each year, with 232 workshops, 375 people involved in the regular programme, and over 700 people attending SCO performances.

Full details from the SCO website.

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