The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra opens its Glasgow concert season on Thursday 29 September with a major Scottish premiere from Scotland's foremost living composer, James MacMillan. Three years after its first acclaimed performances in London, the St John Passion will be presented under the baton of Donald Runnicles, the BBC SSO's Chief Conductor and one of James MacMillan's greatest international champions.
Regarded as one of the composer's landmark works, MacMillan's St John Passion is an orchestral and choral tour-de-force, and its Scottish premiere is a significant event for both Scotland's musical and religious community. Suffused with influences from the composer's Scottish heritage and his Roman Catholic faith, it is intensely operatic with moving moments of contemplation alongside his trademark orchestral and choral writing. Baritone Mark Stone, sings the powerfully dramatic role of Christus, and two of Britain's finest choirs complete the line-up, the London Symphony Chorus and the BBC Singers. The performance will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
James MacMillan said: "Donald Runnicles has performed many of my works, in the States and elsewhere, and he's an incredibly insightful interpreter of my music. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra has been such an important orchestra to me over the last 20 years and has been involved in the performance of many of my most important works."
Donald Runnicles said "The BBC SSO enjoys an extraordinary reputation for its commitment to and performance of modern music... a vital part of this orchestra's mandate. We must be committed to music where we ourselves can never be sure what people will be listening to in 50, 75 years time. I am excited that we are bringing the St John Passion to Scotland for its Scottish Premiere."
At 6.45pm in the pre-concert Prelude, broadcaster James Naughtie, presenter of Radio 4's Today programme, talks with James MacMillan about the work and asks him about the background to its composition.
MacMillan first rose to international prominence in 1990, after the incredible success of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms, a work commissioned for and premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. His prolific output has since been performed and broadcast around the world, placing him in the front rank of today's composers. He was awarded the CBE in 2004.
Notes to Editors
James MacMillan's St John Passion (Scottish premiere)
Thursday 29 September 2011, 7.30pm, City Halls, Glasgow
Opening concert of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's 2011-12 Season
Mark Stone, baritone, London Symphony Chorus, BBC Singers, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Donald Runnicles, conductor
Tickets:£10-£23 (and concessions)
City Halls Box Office, Candleriggs, Glasgow G1 1NQ. Tel: 0141-353 8000
I am excited that we are bringing the St John Passion to Scotland for its Scottish Premiere