BBC SSO new Chief Conductor announced at launch of orchestra’s 2015/16 season

The infectious joy of making music with the BBC SSO makes it a great honour and pleasure to become its Chief Conductor from 2016/17.Thomas Dausgaard
Date: 11.03.2015     Last updated: 11.03.2015 at 00.00
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra has appointed a new Chief Conductor as it launches the 2015/16 season, which also sees it celebrate its 80th birthday.

Thomas Dausgaard will take over from Donald Runnicles as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor in September 2016.

Renowned for his creativity and innovation in programming, and his extensive range of critically acclaimed recordings, Dausgaard has appeared with orchestras around the world and is currently Chief Conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Seattle Symphony and Honorary Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

As a guest conductor with the BBC SSO, Dausgaard has performed a wide range of repertoire from Dvořák and Tchaikovsky to Ives, Lindberg and Schnelzer, and in a range of settings from the City Halls in Glasgow to the St Magnus International Festival in Orkney.

On his appointment, Dausgaard said: "The infectious joy of making music with the BBC SSO makes it a great honour and pleasure to become its Chief Conductor from 2016/17. I am a fond admirer of the orchestra's creativity, team-spirit and excellence, and I look forward very much to exploring all the exciting possibilities which lie ahead of us."

Ken MacQuarrie, Director of BBC Scotland, said: “Creativity is the lifeblood of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Thomas Dausgaard will ensure the orchestra continues to be one of the most dynamic and boundary-pushing orchestras in Scotland and the world.”

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3, said: “With Thomas Dausgaard at the helm, bringing with him extraordinary talent and ability, I look forward to seeing how this great BBC orchestra builds on the lasting legacy of Donald Runnicles’ achievements, and to bringing their concerts to over 2 million listeners. It’s going to be an exciting new chapter in the BBC SSO’s history.”

Gavin Reid, Director of the BBC SSO, said: “Attracting someone of Thomas’s calibre reaffirms the outstanding worldwide reputation of the BBC SSO. The orchestra has excelled when working with him in the past and I know he will receive a very warm welcome.”

During the 2015/16 season, Dausgaard conducts Sibelius’s three final symphonies and later will conduct Brahms’s First Piano Concerto with regular BBC SSO guest Denis Kozhukhin.

Current Chief Conductor Donald Runnicles will open and close the season with powerful performances of Gustav Mahler’s first and last symphonies. Although stepping down as Chief Conductor, from September 2016 he will continue to work with the orchestra as Conductor Emeritus.

In December 2015, the orchestra celebrates its 80th birthday with a special concert which includes a UK Premiere from Matthias Pintscher, the BBC SSO’s Artist-in-Association, as well as Mozart’s Oboe Concerto and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.

Another season highlight includes Martyn Brabbins conducting his own orchestration of Cecil Coles’ Sorrowful Dance. Coles was a Scottish composer who sadly lost his life during the First World War and this will be the first time this work has been performed by an orchestra.

Guest artists
A number of outstanding guest artists appear with the BBC SSO during the season, including cellist Alisa Weilerstein playing Shostakovich in October 2015, and Vadim Repin for James MacMillan’s Violin Concerto in March. Among others appearing are trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, violinists Viviane Hagner, Boris Brovtsyn and James Ehnes, pianist Jonathan Biss, and Wu Wei will play the Sheng, one China’s oldest wind instruments. The season sees a number of guest conductors lead the orchestra including Markus Stenz, Ilan Volkov, Rafael Payare, Nicholas McGegan and Alexander Vedernikov.

The Sound of Hitchcock
An hour-long special edition of film music for BBC Radio 3’s Sound of Cinema, is devoted to some of Alfred Hitchcock’s most celebrated composers and performed by the BBC SSO at the City Halls, Glasgow. There will also be an evening screening of Hitchcock’s 1929 masterpiece Blackmail with Neil Brand’s acclaimed score, accompanied by the BBC SSO.

Across Scotland
In addition to the Glasgow season, the orchestra presents concerts at the Music Hall, Aberdeen including the ever popular Christmas Classics which will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland, in Edinburgh, Ayr, Inverness and Perth.

Edinburgh International Festival 2015
Continuing a close relationship with the Edinburgh International Festival, Donald Runnicles will conduct the opening concert on 8 August at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh – a programme which includes Richard Strauss’s magnificent tone poem Ein Heldenleben with its huge orchestra of around 100 players.

As an integral part of BBC Scotland’s output, BBC SSO contributes to many programmes, including live and recorded broadcasts during afternoons and evenings for BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Scotland.

Notes to Editors

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.

Full biography and images of Thomas Dausgaard available here