BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra: Thomas Dausgaard
New chief conductor takes over the BBC SSO from September
After signing off with the final bars of Schoenberg's 'Gurrelieder' in the closing concert of this year's Edinburgh International Festival, Donald Runnicles stepped down as chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Taking up the role from September is Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard.
His first season has a strong Scottish emphasis, with a focus on new orchestral music through the launch of Scottish Inspirations, a series of five new BBC commissions inspired by Scottish culture and a sense of national identity. The first of these, by Scottish composer Helen Grime, takes inspiration from a painting – Catterline in Winter – by Scottish artist Joan Eardley and can be heard in the 2016/17 season's opening concert, paired up with Bruckner's 'Symphony No 9' in a recently completed version which has its first outing in Glasgow.
Further into the season, as well as a second Eardley-inspired piece by Helen Grime, new music from Sally Beamish, Jay Capperauld and Edmund Finnis will complete the Scottish Inspirations commissions. 'We've asked composers to write for us inspired by this unique part of the world, Scotland,' says Dausgaard. 'There's going to be world premieres, UK premieres, great music and I look forward to sharing it in my first season here.'
Dausgaard comes to Scotland with impressive credentials, appearing with orchestras all over the world and having prestigious positions with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Orchestra della Toscana and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Sitting in on rehearsals of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra as a boy, he became curious about conductors and conducting, taking up the cello so that he could be part of a youth orchestra. Inspired further by their conductor, Dausgaard became hooked on orchestral conducting and has never looked back. 'It's about connecting us all and making us speak with one voice.'
City Halls, Glasgow, Thu 22 Sep