About the Orchestra

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra was formed in December 1935 and is a key contributor to the BBC’s broadcasting and cultural role.

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Based at:
City Halls, Glasgow
Chief Conductor:
Donald Runnicles

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s position as one of the pillars of Scotland’s musical life has been established steadily since it was founded in December 1935. Based at City Halls in Glasgow (since 2006), it is a key contributor to the BBC’s broadcasting and cultural role and performs to large and enthusiastic audiences in venues throughout Scotland, as well as carrying out a busy schedule of recordings, concerts and broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC television, and online. A past recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for best orchestra, the BBC SSO has made over 120 commercial recordings, many of which have received prizes, including four Gramophone Awards.

Few orchestras can rival the BBC SSO for its wide range of repertoire and activity and few orchestras play contemporary music with such commitment and energy. Running parallel to its main concert seasons in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow the orchestra has established strong links with local communities through its thriving learning and outreach programme. It is also a major partner in Big Noise, Scotland’s innovative project for social change through music, and it maintains a close association with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, working over a variety of disciplines with conductors, composers, soloists and orchestral players.

The BBC SSO appears annually at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival, as well as at other major festivals throughout the world. Earlier this year it toured India (Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai) with violinist Nicola Benedetti, conductor James MacMillan and members of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Other recent highlights include a complete cycle of the nine Symphonies of Vaughan Williams which reached its triumphant conclusion in May, and a performance at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival of Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, conducted by Ilan Volkov.

The 2014/2015 season includes special concerts in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow celebrating the 60th birthday of Chief Conductor Donald Runnicles, all three of James MacMillan’s Piano Concertos played by Peter Donohoe and, as part of an exploration of Shakespeare in music, a performance of the incidental music Mendelssohn composed for A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Walton’s score for the 1944 film Henry V.

For further information, please visit: bbc.co.uk/bbcsso

Full list of Players

Get in touch

  • Tel: 0141 552 0909
  • Fax: 0141 552 6078
  • Email: mailto:bbcsso@bbc.co.uk
  • Address: City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, G1 1NQ


  • Laura Samuel, Leader


One of the UK's leading interpreters of new music, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra has close working relationships with many of today's leading composers.

The BBC SSO's first Artist-in-Association is the New York-based composer and conductor Matthias Pintscher.

Read his full biography