Today (Tuesday 21 March 2017) the BBC SSO announced its concerts for the 2017/18 Season. Highlights include:

  • Composer Roots: a major series of concerts programmed by Thomas Dausgaard, exploring influences on the music of Beethoven, Rachmaninov and more, including a three-concert exploration of Bartók.
  • Collaborations with folk musicians from across Europe as part of Composer Roots.
  • New Scottish Inspirations, a second year of works commissioned by the BBC inspired by Scottish culture, from Anna Clyne, David Fennessy and William Sweeney.
  • The orchestra’s Tippett Symphony Cycle concludes with the first professional performance of the composer’s withdrawn Symphony in B flat.
  • A rare performance of Sibelius’s choral symphony Kullervo.
  • Guest soloists including Behzod Abduraimov, Martin Fröst, the Danish String Quartet, Karen Cargill, Steven Osborne and François Leleux.
  • Family concerts including Ten Pieces in Aberdeen, and in Glasgow an exploration of music and science: Music, the Universe and Everything.
  • Contemporary music performances include works by Tenney, Maceda, Vivier, Jaehyuck Choi, Diana Burrell, Charlotte Bray, Cassandra Miller, Thomas Hyde and more.
  • Tectonics Glasgow festival returns for 2018.

Composer Roots concerts are at the heart of the 2017/18 Season. Chief Conductor Thomas Dausgaard has programmed and will conduct a major series of evening and afternoon concerts exploring musical influences on Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Bartók, Nielsen, and Sibelius, including contributions by folk musicians from across Europe. The concerts will reveal how Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto was influenced by Russian Orthodox Gregorian Chant, for example, and how Sibelius’s Kullervo reflects traditional Finnish singing and playing.

Thomas Dausgaard says: “How can we as musicians and music-lovers get closer to the mystery of what makes the composer’s pen move? What are the sources of inspiration that audiences in the past would have picked up on? These are some of the questions that we’ll be trying to answer in the ‘Composer Roots’ concerts, helping us to perform and listen to milestones of the repertoire in new ways.”

Scottish Inspirations, returns for a second year of new BBC commissions showcasing the work of composers energised by Scotland and Scottish identity. Thomas Dausgaard will conduct the world premiere of Eòlas nan Ribheid (The Wisdom of the Reeds) by Scottish composer William Sweeney, based on the pibroch, as well as a new work by composers David Fennessy and Anna Clyne, the latter’s new piece inspired by the Beltane Fire Festival. Martyn Brabbins returns to conclude his two-season exploration of Tippett’s symphonies with Symphony No.3 and Symphony No.4 as well as the first professional performance of Tippett’s early Symphony in B flat - a piece originally withdrawn by the composer. The Symphony in B flat is performed alongside Stravinsky’s Pertrushka and Mozart’s Fourth Horn Concerto performed by the BBC SSO’s own award-winning Principal Horn, Alberto Menéndez Escribano.

A host of titled and guest conductors join the orchestra throughout the season. Principal Guest Conductor Ilan Volkov conducts Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ with Cassandra Miller’s Round and Salvatore Sciarrino’s Allegoria della notte, as well as an edition of BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now featuring works by Tenney and Maceda. Matthias Pintscher conducts an all-Asian programme with works by Hosokawa and Takemitsu, a new piece by South Korean composer Jaehyuck Choi, and Vivier’s Siddhartha. Associate Guest Conductor, John Wilson, teams up with cellist Leonard Elschenbroich to perform Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and Conductor Emeritus Donald Runnicles returns to conduct Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. The BBC SSO’s Leader Laura Samuel completes the list, directing the orchestra in an afternoon performance of Mozart’s ‘Jupiter’ Symphony.

Donalda MacKinnon, Director of BBC Scotland says, “The BBC SSO has a rich history of innovative programming and the new season once again demonstrates the range and virtuosity of this incredible orchestra. The BBC SSO plays a vital role in contributing to programmes across the BBC, entertaining and enlightening audiences throughout Scotland, the UK and beyond.”

Dominic Parker, Director of the BBC SSO says, “This is a season that thrives on the infectious creative curiosity of our Chief Conductor Thomas Dausgaard to explore the roots and influences of a number of great composers. Along with shaking up the concert format, we are bringing musicians from around the world to help us in that exploration – great folk musicians from Hungary to illuminate Bartók, and the Danish String Quartet to highlight Nielsen’s folk influences. At the same time we perform premieres and works by some of the most exciting living composers. We really hope that our audiences will explore these with us.”

Across Scotland
In addition to the Glasgow season, the orchestra will present concerts at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, (while the city’s Music Hall is closed for refurbishment) along with its usual concerts in Edinburgh, Ayr, Inverness and Perth.

Guest Artists
Once again the BBC SSO is joined by soloists from across the world including Simon Trpčeski, Kristóf Baráti, Ilya Gringolts, Martin Fröst, Behzod Abduraimov, François Leleux and the Danish String Quartet, plus two of Scotland’s most celebrated artists, Karen Cargill and Steven Osborne.

Family Concerts
The BBC SSO present two family concerts in Glasgow, Christmas at the Movies and an exploration of music and science: Music, the Universe and Everything. Following the success of last season’s Ten Pieces events the BBC SSO will also perform more Ten Pieces concerts in Glasgow, Perth and Aberdeen.

Edinburgh International Festival 2017
The BBC SSO will give 3 performances at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Thomas Dausgaard conducts his first EIF concert as BBC SSO Chief Conductor with a programme of Schubert, Schumann and Richard Strauss, James MacMillan conducts three works, all of which were premiered at the festival, and Martyn Brabbins concludes the Usher Hall concerts with a special concert celebrating 70 years of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Tectonics Glasgow
Details of Tectonics Glasgow 2018 will be announced February 2018. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s Tectonics festival 2017 takes place from 6-7 May at the City Halls and Old Fruitmarket.

Learning and Outreach
Ten Pieces is the BBC’s flagship classical music education project; and as part of this the BBC SSO delivers concerts, coaching and creative projects all over Scotland, to encourage thousands of school-age children to get creative with classical music using ten famous works as inspiration. In the 2017/18 Season BBC SSO will give concerts in Glasgow, Perth and Aberdeen giving hundreds of pupils the opportunity to hear a symphony orchestra live.

The BBC SSO has been part of Sistema Scotland – a project which engenders social change through music – since its inception and regularly work with children in the Big Noise centres in Raploch and Govanhill. In 2016 over 100 of the young musicians from Govanhill performed alongside the BBC SSO on stage at City Halls in Glasgow in a side-by-side performance for friends and family.

The orchestra continues to encourage and mentor the next generation of performers and composers with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland: from the BBC SSO’s conducting fellowship to the orchestral mentoring scheme; and in innovative collaborations like Dream On! which recently brought the orchestra together with hundreds of emerging young artistic talents from the RCS, Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University, to make a new musical work inspired by the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.


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