Royal Scottish National Orchestra reveals 125th anniversary plans

17 March 2015, 14:00

RSNO to celebrate special birthday over the next two seasons, with Nicola Benedetti, Cole Porter's music, and 'Back to the Future'.

Classic FM's Orchestra in Scotland has announced it will be marking its 125th anniversary over two full seasons, starting in October this year. 

Star violinist Nicola Benedetti will play Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 for the first time in her native country, conducted by the RSNO's Music Director Peter Oundjian. Three large-scale choral works are also eagerly anticipated: Mahler's Symphony No.2 ('Resurrection'), and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 bookend the 2015/2016 season, while Vaughan WilliamsSea Symphony also features. 

Classic FM's Anne-Marie Minhall presents her show live from Glasgow, Wednesday 18 March > 

The orchestra will be continuing its popular series of film music concerts including, in collaboration with Edinburgh International Film Festival, a screening of classic fantasy film Back to the Future with live orchestral soundtrack to celebrate the movie’s 30th anniversary,

The RSNO will be showcasing the music of two very diverse composers, Sergei Prokofiev and musical theatre legend Cole Porter, who also both have 125th anniversaries in 2016. The orchestra will be performing two of Prokofiev's ballet works – Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet as well as all three Piano Concertos across 2016, with long-time associate, pianist Nikolai Lugansky.

The Cole Porter Songbook Anniversary Gala in May 2016 will celebrate the wit, charm and style of one of the doyens of American music. 

"I'm sure those who participated in the first Scottish Orchestra concert would never have dreamed that there would be an ensemble, carrying its history and unique tradition, 125 years later," said Peter Oundjian, "and yet here we are, celebrating a century and a quarter of making music as one of Scotland’s most attended performing arts institutions."

During the anniversary celebrations, the orchestra will be moving into a new, purpose-built rehearsal, performance and recording facility, called The RSNO Centre.

"We have made a concerted effort over the past few years to provide unprecedented access to what is one of the country’s most important cultural assets," said Oundjian, "but with the completion of our new premises comes a renewed drive to open our doors as never before, so you will notice a greater emphasis on integration, collaboration, learning and engagement connecting our programming.

"This is perhaps the most diverse and accessible this Orchestra has ever been."

The anniversary festivities will also include:

· Artist in Focus weeks and new performance strands, including an Under The Skin of…series that will investigate select composers featured during the season. Discover Days, will be led by an RSNO musician or invited guest, held at the University of Edinburgh and at the new RSNO Centre.

· Scottish premieres of James MacMillan’s orchestral work, The Death of Oscar and Little Mass, both RSNO co-commissions.

· The inauguration of the new organ for the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

· RSNO ensembles RSNO Alchemy and RSNO Chamber returning to present new series.

· In June, violinist Jennifer Pike is joined by Dutch conductor Otto Tausk for a Classic FM Hall of Fame concert – an evening of some of the most popular orchestral classics as voted for by Classic FM listeners.

· Other celebrated conductors performing during the anniversary seasons will be Neeme Järvi, Walter Weller, Alexander Lazarev and Thomas Søndergård.