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Scottish Chamber Orchestra team up with Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto for 2019

Scottish Chamber Orchestra team up with Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto for 2019

credit: Felix Broede

Find out more about the SCO's partnership with 'the David Bowie of the fiddle'

When talking about a male classical violinist, an image of someone performing in a huge scarlett dress might not necessarily be what first springs to mind. Nor, perhaps, would a new soundtrack for The Moomins, a collaboration with US folk singer Sam Amidon or a performance at a rock festival with The National. But then Pekka Kuusisto – who'll be directing and playing with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for two concerts in March – is an artist who's impossible to pigeonhole.

He's a musician who seems to always be seeking something fresh, whether that's new sounds created with new technologies or an unusual angle in a centuries-old concerto. His take on Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto during 2016's BBC Proms was equally as memorable as his hilarious encore, when he got the 6000-strong audience to their feet, singing along to a Finnish folk song. And now Glasgow and Edinburgh audiences will be treated to Kuusisto's infectious charisma as he teams up with the SCO, whose flexibility and willingness to take risks make them a perfect partner.

But back to that dress. In perhaps his most outlandish collaboration yet, Kuusisto worked with South Korean artist Aamu Song to create a gigantic red dress which completely filled the stage of the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin for performances in the summer of 2018. Sewn into the skirt were 200 'pockets' – which really were a bit more like sleeping bags – for audience members to ensconce themselves in, allowing them to feel part of the music and helping to dissolve barriers between performer and listener.

Always pushing the boundaries of classical music as a genre, Kuusisto is now bringing his creative programming to Scotland for two concerts he has devised especially for the SCO, which will feature plenty of musical surprises, including a piece of music for solo cello and 20 wine glasses!

Kuusisto has always been interested in shaking up the format of a traditional classical concert, and you can guarantee his concerts with the SCO will be adventurous and full of energy. He believes 'the audience should not always be allowed to sink into a comfortable familiarity at a concert, but they should be derailed in all kinds of ways that scratch the skin of whatever organs they receive their experiences with.' So expect the unexpected and throw away your inhibitions: this adventurous concert has 'memorable' written all over it, no matter what your musical tastes.

Pekka Kuusisto directs the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at Queens Hall, Edinburgh, Thu 21 Mar & City Halls, Glasgow, Fri 22 Mar. Tickets online from sco.org.uk or Queens Hall box office (0131) 668 2019 and City Halls box office (0141) 353 8000.

SCO 18/19: Pekka Kuusisto Directs Ravel and Haydn

Pekka Kuusist leads the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in this programme that includes works by the likes of Bartok, Ravel, Messiaen and more.

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