Mozart is the musical heartland of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra - and it is to his music the Orchestra returns for the 2016/17 Season with Principal Conductor Robin Ticciati after their three-year journey across the musical territories of Berlioz, Schumann, Brahms and Haydn. This Classical narrative of Mozart will be complemented by Richard Strauss at his most bold and personal, while the heartbeat of new music from today’s composers will sound throughout the programme with several major new commissions to be premiered this Season.
The Orchestra continues to perform regularly in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, St Andrews, Perth and Dumfries, as well as connecting with wider and diverse audiences on tour throughout the country and further afield.
MUSIC OF TODAY: PREMIERES & NEW COMMISSIONS
In December, the SCO celebrates the work of its Composer Laureate Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who sadly passed away on 14 March 2016, with a programme centred on his An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise, coinciding with the release of a new album of Maxwell Davies’ works.
SCO takes great pride in its commitment to both commissioning and performing the music of living composers within its broad programming and continues to maintain its reputation as one of Scotland’s most prolific commissioners of new work with a series of significant world premieres. This Season, the Orchestra premieres SCO Associate Composer Martin Suckling’s new Piano Concerto, performed by versatile young British pianist Tom Poster. As part of a month-long celebration of Sir James MacMillan’s recent works, in conjunction with several Scottish Arts organisations*, the SCO premieres MacMillan’s Concertino for Horn and Strings, with the spotlight on Principal Horn Alec Frank-Gemmill as soloist; and bringing another SCO Principal to the fore is the world premiere of Lyell Cresswell’s new Clarinet Concerto Llanto, with award-winning clarinettist Maximiliano Martín. Extending the exploration of today’s music are performances of Thomas Adès, Helen Grime and Anna Meredith, all with Ticciati conducting, and works by Jörg Widmann and Thierry Escaich.
In Ticciati’s words, “We have sought to grow our focus on living composers who are the craftsmen and women of today, both from Britain and further afield: the voices that sing for what humanity represents – or doesn’t – in the 21st century. We celebrate what is new, what is challenging, what is provoking to our ears.”
MOZART & STRAUSS
Mozart’s last three symphonies, all masterpieces of Classical symphonic writing, open the 2016/17 Season conducted by Ticciati, now in his eighth Season with SCO, in a concert sponsored by Baillie Gifford. Mozart piano concertos are also to the fore, with critically-acclaimed pianist Maria João Pires as soloist in K467 and K595, and Grammy award-winning South African fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout playing K466 and K482. SCO Associate Artist Richard Egarr conducts Mozart’s ‘Coronation’ Mass with the SCO Chorus and SCO Associate Artist Alexander Janiczek completes his two-year survey of Mozart and Beethoven concertos with Lly–r Williams and the SCO, performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto in D, K218, alongside Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto.
Richard Strauss was a composer who drew huge inspiration from the craft and spirit of Mozart’s works. Despite being considered by many in his time as a backslider and a revisionist, with the benefit of hindsight we can see that he was a master of reinvention. His work is celebrated in concerts of his seldom-performed dance-like incidental music – Le bourgeois Gentilhomme – and his almost Mozartian Oboe Concerto, performed by Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Oboe, Ramón Ortega Quero. SCO Principals feature once again in Strauss’ Duet Concertino, with Ticciati conducting Principal Clarinet Maximiliano Martín and Principal Bassoon Peter Whelan as soloists and, in the same concert, Principal Horn Alec Frank-Gemmill in Strauss’ Horn Concertos (No 2 in Edinburgh and Glasgow and No 1 in Dumfries).
The 2016/17 Season sees a host of world-class soloists collaborating with the SCO: Scottish-born Nicola Benedetti makes a welcome return to play Beethoven’s mighty Violin Concerto, with Conductor Emeritus Joseph Swensen in January. Pianists Martin Helmchen and Bertrand Chamayou, both creating waves in Europe over the last few years, take on Mendelssohn’s first two piano concertos, paired with Schumann’s Second and Third Symphonies conducted by period-performance authority Philippe Herreweghe and Principal Guest Conductor Emmanuel Krivine. Acclaimed Soprano Elizabeth Watts stars in the SCO’s hugely popular New Year in Vienna concerts with a selection of light concert arias and again in February for Mozart’s ‘Coronation’ Mass. Bringing the 2016/17 Season to a close, renowned sibling duo Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff perform Brahms’ Double Concerto, conducted by Robin Ticciati who finishes the concert with Beethoven’s thrilling Seventh Symphony, before touring the same programme to the Far East in May 2017.
The SCO Chorus has been celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2016 under the direction of young British choral director Gregory Batsleer. Ever versatile, in this new Season they take on works ranging from Handel’s Israel in Egypt with a line-up of top soloists including Iestyn Davies and James Gilchrist, and Berlioz’s choral epic L’enfance du Christ, conducted by SCO Principal Conductor Emmanuel Krivine (as part of the Quilter Cheviot Krivine Series), to the unaccompanied choral works of Britten and Poulenc in a concert of music for Christmas in Greyfriars Kirk. Towards the end of the Season the Chorus and Orchestra return to Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with top international singers including SCO Associate Artist Karen Cargill, John Mark Ainsley and Neal Davies.
The SCO also hosts internationally acclaimed chamber choir, The Sixteen, directed by Harry Christophers, in an inspired collaboration in which they will perform the Scottish Premiere of MacMillan’s Stabat Mater, along with Tryst, one of the earliest works he composed for the SCO in the 1980s, conducted by the composer himself.*
Speaking about the Orchestra’s upcoming Season, SCO Chief Executive Roy McEwan commented: “In Season 2016/17 we look forward to a Mozart homecoming, following recent Seasons’ explorations of later composers such as Brahms and Schumann. The SCO is a truly great Mozart orchestra and we are excited to have Robin Ticciati at the helm of this exploration, bringing his astounding musicianship and fresh perspectives to these works. We have paired Mozart with the music of Richard Strauss – a composer whose devotion to Mozart verged on the fanatical and so, we think, a perfect match. This Season we have a diverse programme filled with a strong commitment to new music and, as ever, world class new and returning guest artists, all helping us to realise our artistic aspirations.”