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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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BBC Two Scotland features a series of live events with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and new Chief Conductor Donald Runnicles

One of the most eagerly awaited partnerships in Scottish music begins in earnest on Thursday 8 October, as Donald Runnicles conducts his inaugural concert as the new Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

BBC Scotland is marking this occasion with a special Artworks documentary on BBC Two Scotland, Return Of The Maestro: Donald Runnicles, followed by a broadcast of Mahler's First Symphony, in a deferred live relay from the BBC SSO's home at Glasgow City Halls.

An international classical music star, Donald Runnicles brings his outstanding artistic pedigree back to Scotland in this new appointment with the BBC SSO and Return Of The Maestro goes behind the scenes with the BBC SSO as he prepares to take on his new job.

It charts the progress of the Edinburgh-born musician who cut his professional teeth in Germany's opera houses before rising to become one of the world's most celebrated conductors.

Opening with Runnicles' farewell performance as music director of the prestigious San Francisco Opera, the cameras go backstage as he prepares to conduct his new orchestra at the largest classical music festival in the world, the BBC Proms in London.

Runnicles discusses his background in Edinburgh, his inspirational early musical experiences in front of Alexander Gibson and Leonard Bernstein, and speaks frankly about his decision to accept the position with a Scottish orchestra. He counters suggestions that his return was about "coming home" and underlines his conviction that the BBC SSO stands among the world's finest orchestras.

Music journalists Norman Lebrecht and Michael Tumelty, along with musicians from within the orchestra, explain what makes a great, good or bad conductor and are candid in their expectations of Runnicles' leadership setting fresh artistic benchmarks.

The opening concert of the orchestra's 2009/10 season also serves to highlight new beginnings: the First Symphonies of Beethoven and Mahler and the acclaimed pairing of orchestra and conductor. The performance is introduced by Mary Ann Kennedy.

Runnicles and the BBC SSO will perform the same programme on Friday 9 October at the Music Hall, Aberdeen and on Sunday 11 October at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, and these programmes will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Notes to Editors


Thursday 8 October, 7.30pm

City Halls, Glasgow. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Runnicles Conducts Mahler. Tickets: £10.00-£23.00 (and concessions). Box Office: 0141 353 8000. bbc.co.uk/bbcsso.

Thursday 8 October, 8.30–9.00pm: Return Of The Maestro: Donald Runnicles, BBC Two Scotland

Thursday 8 October, 9.00–10.00pm: The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Concert, BBC Two Scotland

Friday 9 October, 7.30pm

Music Hall, Aberdeen. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Runnicles Conducts Mahler. Tickets: £9.50-£20.00 (and concessions). Box Office: 01224 641122. bbc.co.uk/bbcsso.

Sunday 11 October, 7.30pm

Usher Hall, Edinburgh. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Runnicles Conducts Mahler. Tickets: £10.00-£26.00 (and concessions). Box Office: 0131 228 1155. bbc.co.uk/bbcsso.

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