The RSNO’s reputation takes another leap forward with world-class roster of guest conductors and soloists, an adventurous repertoire and a prestigious international tour of landmark European venues.

  • Stéphane Denève’s fifth Season as RSNO Music Director
  • Outstanding soloists and internationally established conductors
  • Words and Music theme links great orchestral works
  • 200th anniversary survey of the symphonies of Robert Schumann
  • Major choral works – Rachmaninov’s The Bells, Britten’s War Requiem and Fauré’s Requiem
  • Full Season of concerts for Edinburgh audiences at the reopening Usher Hall
  • Naked Classics goes east
  • International appearances in Amsterdam, Baden- Baden, Paris, Munich, Vienna and Belgrade

    The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has announced its 2009-10 Season, marking Stéphane Denève’s fifth year as RSNO Music Director, and celebrating a partnership which continues to garner acclaim through performances on-stage and award-winning recordings.

    The RSNO will deliver a programme brimming with ambition and diversity to Scottish audiences in 2009-10; from great masterworks of the 20th century, a Words and Music theme, works by living composers, a cycle of Schumann’s symphonies, two major choral presentations and a team of world-class guest conductors and soloists that demonstrates the RSNO’s ever increasing ability to compete internationally for the world’s greatest talent.

    Announcing the new Season, RSNO Music Director Stéphane Denève:
    “I’m extremely proud of the guest artists, soloists and conductors who will be joining us next Season. It’s a fantastic feeling that we are able to attract such talent, and a testament to the RSNO’s ever-increasing international reputation.

    “There are too many highlights to mention individually, but I’m particularly thrilled to have such a stellar cast to perform with me what is perhaps the most moving work of the British repertoire, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. And with many works that give me the opportunity to explore the intriguing relationship between words and music, as well as a cycle of Schumann’s wonderful Symphonies to celebrate his 200th anniversary, the season will be quite a journey!”

    Conductors of Exceptional Quality

    The RSNO is joined by some of the most talented and inspiring conductors in the forthcoming Season. On the podium, highlights include the return after many years of Sir Roger Norrington and Sir Andrew Davis, as well as the appearance of Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Yakov Kreizberg, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra Music Director Peter Oundjian. RSNO Conductor Laureate Neeme Järvi continues his exposition of Dutch composer Henk de Vlieger’s condensed versions of Wagner’s operas, with Tristan und Isolde: An Orchestral Passion. Neeme’s son Kristjan Järvi makes his fourth appearance with the orchestra, further cementing his strong relationship with Scottish audiences.

    An Outstanding Line-Up of Soloists

    Soloists joining the Orchestra this year continue to set the bar in terms of quality and presence. Of the pianists, Lars Vogt - who made his RSNO début in 2007 - returns for the opening concert of the Season. Leif Ove Andsnes, Ingrid Fliter and Terrence Wilson make their first appearances, while long-established friend of the Orchestra, John Lill, returns in January. Completing the list, the return of the much-lauded Russian Nicolai Lugansky, who is one of the world’s finest pianists.

    Leading the visiting violinists is supremely talented Leonidas Kavakos, Artistic Director of the Camerata Salzburg, who delighted audiences at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2008. Nicola Benedetti, enjoying continued success internationally, makes a return in 2009. Renaud Capuçon returns for his second visit following an enthralling début in 2007, as does Israeli Vadim Gluzman, whose last performances with the RSNO in November 2008 wowed critics and audience members alike.

    Clarinettist Sharon Kam makes her first appearance with the Orchestra in April 2010. RSNO Principal Oboe Emmanuel Laville, entering his second year with the Orchestra, will step to the front of the stage to perform Richard Strauss’ Oboe Concerto in October 2009.

    British tenor Ian Bostridge is at the pinnacle of his career. He made his operatic début performing Britten, and revisits one of the composer’s finest works, the War Requiem, joined by Norwegian rising star, baritone Audun Iversen and Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka, current winner of the international singing contest Neue Stimmen.

    Two cellists of distinction make their way to the concert halls of Scotland . The virtuosic German Daniel Müller-Schott performs with the Orchestra for the first time in April 2010, and Truls Mørk, widely recognised as one of the finest cellists in the world, will mark the conclusion to the Season, in May 2010.

    Words and Music Theme

    The Season references the connection between major orchestral works and the written word. The centrepiece of the opening concert launches the theme: Denève’s first performances of Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite Scheherazade, based on the collection of Arabian folk tales One Thousand and One Nights. The thematic strand continues with Bernstein’s Overture and Suite from Candide (inspired by Voltaire’s French satire of the same name), Berg’s Violin Concerto (based on JS Bach’s chorale Es ist genug), Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1919 version) (based on Slavic folk tales), Franck’s Le chasseur maudit (The Accursed Huntsman, referring to the work of German poet Gottfried August Bürger), Rachmaninov’s The Bells (in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the birth of gothic poet Edgar Allan Poe), Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No2 (from Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio which, in turn, was inspired by French playwright Jean-Nicolas Bouilly’s Leonore), Tippett’s Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage (which traces the storyline of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and is indebted to T.S Eliot’s poem The Waste Land) Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No1 (composed as incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s drama), Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (animating the magnum opus of 12th century author Gottfried von Strassburg), Weber’s Overture to Der Freischütz (adapted from a German folk legend), Britten’s War Requiem (which intersperses the Latin Requiem texts with settings of Wilfred Owen’s war poetry), Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote, (based on the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes) and Janáček’s Taras Bulba (inspired by the Cossack tale by Nikolai Gogol). Other hidden connections occur through the season, including the last movement of Schumann’s Second Symphony, with its coded references to Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte.

    Complete Cycle of Schumann Symphonies

    The RSNO is pleased to be presenting all four symphonies of Robert Schumann in honour of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth. A relative rarity for RSNO patrons, the complete symphonies of the German composer last appeared together in a Season almost thirty years ago. The cycle will be led by four conductors, each of whom will bring a different perspective on Schumann’s inspiring quartet of masterpieces: Jakub Hrůša (No1 Spring) Sir Roger Norrington (No2), Sir Andrew Davis (No3 Rhenish), and RSNO Music Director Stéphane Denève (No4)

    Choral Performances for 2009-10

    The 2009-10 Season continues to employ the talents of the RSNO Chorus, with two major choral works; Rachmaninov’s choral symphony The Bells and Britten’s profound statement on the nature of human conflict, the War Requiem, with an important contribution from the award-winning RSNO Junior Chorus and featuring the astounding talent of British tenor Ian Bostridge. Edinburgh audiences will also benefit from the RSNO’s only Scottish performance of Fauré’s Requiem in January, a second chance to hear the combined forces of the RSNO Chorus and Junior Chorus.

    Featured Contemporary Repertoire for 2009-10

    The RSNO’s commitment to performing works by living composers continues, featuring works by Guillaume Connesson (Une lueur dans l'âge sombre) – now familiar to audiences in Scotland – newly appointed BBC Symphony Orchestra Artist-in-Association Oliver Knussen (Flourish with Fireworks; The Way to Castle Yonder), the European première of American Michael Daugherty’s Deux ex machina, and the First Symphony of one of the greatest living French composers, Henri Dutilleux.

    The Success of Naked Classics Heads East

    The unique and innovative Naked Classics series, in its fourth Glasgow Season, continues to engage and excite aficionados and newcomers to orchestral music alike. The new Season sees this critically acclaimed presentation head to Edinburgh for the first time. The works to be explored are Holst’s The Planets, Beethoven’s Symphony No7 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No5, which will be performed in full, following Presenter Paul Rissmann’s comprehensive explanation of the music, aided by on-stage interviews with musicians and creative use of multimedia techniques.

    Naked Classics also has an important education and outreach component, which involves taking RSNO musicians into communities where cultural provision is sparse, then bringing members of those communities to concert venues to enjoy the engaging and exciting presentations. Last year the Naked Classics programme made 30 community visits, and brought over 500 people to orchestral concerts through workshops and visits.

    The RSNO Returns to the Usher Hall for Full Edinburgh Season After two years at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, the RSNO is delighted to announce its return to the traditional Edinburgh home, the Usher Hall, for a full subscription Season of concerts in 2009-10, two Festive concerts and three Naked Classics events.

    Popular with Subscribers and Young People Alike The number of people subscribing to RSNO performances across Scotland is at its highest for 25 years. Subscriptions to the coming Season provide great value, with substantial savings on single ticket prices for multiple bookings.

    The Standard Life Passport to Music scheme, launched last year, gives children under 16 free access to all of the RSNO's Season concerts in Scotland (excluding Festive concerts). In 2008-2009 Standard Life Passport to Music made it possible for 500 families, who were brand new to the RSNO, to attend concerts.

    Since launching its Under 26 £5 Tickets, the RSNO has received over 5,000 applications for the discount card - with young people under the age of 26 now making up around 10% of the average RSNO audience.

    Appearances at Major International Venues in Europe 2010 The RSNO, RSNO Chorus and Junior Chorus have been invited to perform at the historic Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in January 2010. Stéphane Denève will lead an all-French programme: Fauré’s Requiem, Roussel’s Symphony No3 and Ravel’s La Valse; this is one of the Concertgebouw’s Requiem Series concerts, a key element of the illustrious venue’s 2009-10 Season.

    The following month will see the RSNO embark on a major, six-date international tour, performing at some of the greatest concert venues in Europe . Starting at the Festspielhaus, Baden-Baden (Fri 5 February), the Orchestra will appear at the Philharmonie, Luxembourg (Saturday 6 February), Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris (Monday 8 February - performing in the city for only the second time in the Orchestra’s history), Philharmonie Gasteig, Munich (Tuesday 9 February), Konzerthaus, Vienna (Wednesday 10 February) and Belgrade (Thursday 11 February). Stéphane Denève and Scotland ’s national orchestra will be joined by Grammy-winning American violinist Hilary Hahn, who performed with the RSNO on its previous European tour in 2008.

    The RSNO's 2010 European tour is generously supported by Dunard Fund and the Scottish Government.

    Corporate Partners

    The RSNO continues to build on the number of partnerships with businesses across the country, strengthening its reputation for delivering rewarding associations with corporate Scotland.

    Last year TOTAL E&P UK Limited extended its commitment to the RSNO for a further three years. This includes the continuation of the TOTAL Denève Series and a strategic programme of education projects in Aberdeen City and Shire, culminating in the creation of a community composition.

    With the objective of introducing more children and families to live orchestral music, Standard Life gives crucial support to the RSNO's initiatives with its younger audience members. Launched last year, Standard Life Passport to Music allows the Orchestra to offer under 16s free concert tickets combined with an innovative youth engagement scheme to maximise their enjoyment and attendance. Those who register on the dedicated website - – enjoy the benefits of free programmes, special gifts, plus the opportunity to voice their opinions on the website’s forum.

    The partnership with ScotRail, the Orchestra’s Official Transport Partner, continues to provide vital transport to RSNO musicians and staff.

    The RSNO would like to thank all of its sponsors and partners who make a crucial contribution to the work of the Orchestra: TOTAL E&P UK Limited, Standard Life, Shell U.K. Limited, Capital Solutions, The essentiagroup, Exxon Mobil, The Courier, ScotRail, Park’s Motor Group, Loganair, BBC Radio 3, The Evening Times, Classic FM, Cadenhead’s, Mitchell’s Glengyle, Springbank Distillers Ltd, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Aon Limited, Bell Lawrie, BG Group, the BIG partnership, Citigroup, First Rule Investment Consultancy Ltd, The Franco-Scottish Business Club, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, MacRoberts LLP, MBM Commercial LLP, McGrigors, The Miller Group, prg specialised professional recruitment, RBS, The Scottish Council for Development & Industry, Smart Graphics, Willis UK & Ireland, 55degrees Ltd. The RSNO is grateful for the support of Glasgow City Council, The City of Edinburgh Council, Dundee City Council and Aberdeen City Council.

    The RSNO is one of Scotland ’s National Performing Companies, supported by the Scottish Government.


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