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Scottish Chamber Orchestra enters its 2019/20 Season with a renewed energy
- Carol Main
- 30 August 2019
SCO's new Season includes a dynamic new Principal Conductor at the helm and a host of exciting collaborations
From even a quick glance through the Scottish Chamber Orchestra's 2019/20 Season brochure, it's clear there's an abundance of fresh, cutting-edge talent involved, whether playing, composing or conducting. With the appointments of Maxim Emelyanychev as Principal Conductor and Anna Clyne as Associate Composer, there's a marked new approach which is all very much about the audience.
Born in 1988 in Dzerzhinski, a city about 250 miles east of Moscow mainly known for its industrial chemical production, Maxim first appeared with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra as guest conductor last March. Sparking a different kind of chemistry from the one with which he grew up, Maxim and the Orchestra immediately hit it off and now, in his first full Concert Season, it's all about sharing. 'We are musicians,' he says about himself and the Orchestra, 'and we are very happy in our job, for what we do is actually our passion. It's so great to be able to share this with the public. We couldn't do it without the public. In a concert, something very special happens and it is a great pleasure to feel this energy.'
For Maxim, no two performances are the same. It is about responding to the magic that is in the concert hall at any given time. Hard work in rehearsals leads to a spontaneity that can't be prepared in advance. 'You do your decisions in the moment', he says, 'you need to improvise and just relax in the concert, and the Orchestra are such extraordinary musicians that they can do this.'
This exceptional musicianship is vital to Anna Clyne's role too. A graduate of Edinburgh University, Anna says, 'I'm honoured and excited to begin my role, and very much looking forward to writing new music for the incredible musicians of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.' Although composers tend to be seen only when they take a bow for a performance of a new score, Anna will be very present as Associate Composer.
'Pre-concert talks and performances are an opportunity for me to interact with audience members, whether new or familiar faces, and to provide a window into new work and the creative process. Having a living, breathing composing partner is a wonderful way to share insights and engage with a wide orchestra community, while also providing an important example for younger musicians and composers to see this relationship in action.'
Her double violin concerto, Prince of Clouds, which earned a 2015 Grammy Award nomination, is heard in November, alongside her first Associate Composer commission which takes the form of a concerto for orchestra, highlighting some of the Orchestra's outstanding soloists. This particular concert will be directed from the violin by another innovative musician with his own take on orchestral repertoire, the Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, who is Featured Artist of the 2019/20 Season. Hailed as 'one-of-a-kind' by Toronto's The Globe and Mail, Pekka took the BBC Proms by storm three years ago when his encore was a Finnish folk song which he introduced with great panache before both playing and singing it.
More familiar repertoire, which will be conducted by Maxim Emelyanychev in his very first concert as Principal Conductor in November, includes Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, which sits alongside Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No 2 and the UK premiere of Five Pieces for Orchestra by French film composer Philippe Hersant. 'It is a privilege to conduct music of our own time,' he says, 'and mixing different types of music is very important. It is also very important for orchestras to provide the best possible classical music audiences can hear and respond to. If we can have the happiness of this connection, then we are all happy.'
Scottish Chamber Orchestra 2019/20 Season, Sep 2019–May 2020, sco.org.uk