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BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra turns 75

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Simone Byrne Simone Byrne | 14:30 UK time, Friday, 26 November 2010

Gavin Reid

Gavin Reid: Director BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Orchestra Director, Gavin Reid writes a few words of appreciation for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra as it marks it's 75th year.

The red 'on-air' light has shone brightly over the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for 75 years as it evolved from a humble studio ensemble, into what is now one of the finest symphony orchestras in the UK. The story of how it got here is a colourful one; of hard work, talent and generations of fine musicians; of an orchestra once confined to a studio, to one that now reaches out across the world as an international ambassador for Scotland.

I first heard the BBC SSO in Edinburgh's Usher Hall in 1985 - by which time the orchestra was already 50 years old - when the incredible trumpet player Wynton Marsalis joined them to play concertos by Haydn and Hummel - as an aspiring young trumpeter myself (I was 19 and Marsalis was all of 24), it was inspirational and an experience that I'll never forget.

From the early days with our incredible founder, the pioneering Ian Whyte, through a long line of colourful characters - conductors, soloists and orchestral players - groundbreaking tours, recordings, commissions and education projects, to the present day and the orchestra's rightful place as one of the finest, most adventurous and innovative musical ensembles in the UK - the BBC SSO looks forward to its next 75 years, with as much excitement, passion and enthusiasm as ever before.

As we reach three-quarters of a century the red 'on-air' light is still shining. It's a great time to be the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and a wonderful time to be working with them.


Watch former BBC SSO Associate Principal Conductor Martyn Brabbins share his memories of the orchestra in the lead up to its 75th Anniversary and visit the Culture Zone to hear archive performances, documentaries and interviews with past conductors, soloists and players.

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