Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Orchestra of Scottish Opera

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St Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow, Sun 15 Oct


They may not be very visible when Scottish Opera is on the main stage, but the Orchestra of Scottish Opera is not one to shy away from appearing in public on their own so that audiences can get a chance to hear and see them a bit more closely. A regular series of orchestral concerts at St Andrew’s in the Square in the company’s home city of Glasgow is now one of the mainstays of the orchestra’s schedule. ‘When I took over managing the orchestra some years ago,’ says Orchestra and Concerts Director, Jay Allen, ‘I saw it as an essential part of the players’ working life to have a public face as well as with the company in the theatre.’

Playing for singers is a specialist skill that Scottish Opera’s instrumentalists are well renowned for, but Allen feels that the different discipline of playing concerts shows how flexible his players are too.

‘We had to change their contracts, which I’m pleased to say was done with goodwill and the players’ consent,’ he says, ‘and they are 100% behind me in everything I’ve done. They, of course, also enjoy playing in a concert situation.’

While St Andrew’s in the Square may not be quite large enough to accommodate the full size orchestra of 53 full-time musicians all at once, programmes are devised by conductor Richard Armstrong to reflect what can be done with a bit of creative imagination. For his first appearance, strings are in the first half with wind in the second, while guest conductor Douglas Boyd’s programme in November will feature the smaller scale symphonic forces required by Mozart. Contemporary opera composers Jonathan Dove and Judith Weir also feature. ‘The powerhouse of any opera company is its orchestra’ says Allen. ‘It’s our fundamental bedrock.’


1. Clare Tereasa29 Jan 2009, 11:05am Report

Dear Mr Allen,

With great regret I have to inform you, of the sudden death of William James Kell, former viola player. On 26th January 2009, aged 42. Details of the funeral yet to be released.

Yours Sincerely

Enid Kell (mother)
Clare Tereasa Gallagher (fiance)

2. Clare Tereasa3 Feb 2009, 7:47pm Report

To all the members of the orchestra of the Scottish opera,

The funeral of the late William (Bill) james Kell, will be held at Dreghorn crematorium, Irvine, Ayrshire, on the 6th Feb 10:00 am


Enid Kell (Mother)
Clare Tereasa Gallagher (Fiance)

3. Greg Parnell10 Jul 2014, 7:48pm Report

I am just now seeing the post about Bill Kell. I was his college roommate in Yougnstown, OH. What happened to Bill? Does anyone have contact info for his mother or brother Doug?

Thank you,

Greg parnell

4. Christine Harrison25 Dec 2014, 11:07pm Report

HI Greg, sadly Enid has also passed away, not long after Bill. Doug used to be on facebook, but his account has now vanished.
Bill was a good man.

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