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Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Street address: 4 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5AB, Scotland, United Kingdom
Telephone: 44 (0) 131 557 6800
Fax: 44 (0) 131 557 6933
Proprietor: Scottish Government
Contact: Joseph Swensen Conductor Emeritus
Contact: Roy McEwan Managing Director
Formed in 1974 with a commitment to serve the Scottish community, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is one of Scotland’s national performing companies and functions as one of its leading cultural ambassadors, touring regularly in the Far East, Europe and the USA.
Previously funded through the Scottish Arts Council, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra has received its funding directly from the Scottish Government since 1 April 2007, in line with the terms of the 2006 cultural policy statement Scotland's Culture.
The SCO is internationally recognised as one of the world’s foremost chamber orchestras and for its innovative approach to music-making and programme planning. The SCO’s Concert Season includes performances across Scotland, in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, St Andrews, Perth, Dumfries and Ayr. It also undertakes annual Highlands and South of Scotland tours and has played in over a hundred small communities throughout the country. The Orchestra appears regularly at the Edinburgh International Festival, the BBC Proms and the St Magnus (Orkney) and Aldeburgh Festivals. Its busy international touring schedule has recently included Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the USA, Spain, Portugal and The Netherlands.
The Orchestra enjoys close relationships with many leading composers and has commissioned more than a hundred new works, including pieces by Composer Laureate Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Lyell Cresswell, James MacMillan, Haflidi Hallgrímsson, Einojuhani Rautavaara and Stuart MacRae. The SCO recently collaborated with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra in a four-year programme of joint commissions from Composers-in-Residence Sally Beamish and Karin Rehnqvist.
The SCO’s close relationship with Conductor Laureate Sir Charles Mackerras has resulted in many acclaimed performances and recordings over the years, particularly at the Edinburgh International Festival where they have established an enviable reputation for concert performances of opera. Many of these performances have also been recorded, including seven Mozart operas – most recently La Clemenza di Tito which was released on Deutsche Grammophon in February 2006. Together, they have also released a Grammy-nominated set of Brahms symphonies, Beethoven’s Fidelio, symphonies by Schubert, Brahms’ serenades, Mozart’s Requiem, four CDs of Mozart Piano Concertos with Alfred Brendel and a disc of Kodály and Bartók.
Following nine successful years as the SCO’s Principal Conductor, Joseph Swensen was appointed as the Orchestra’s first-ever Conductor Emeritus in 2005. He and the SCO have built a reputation for exuberant and dynamic performances, particularly for their interpretations of Beethoven. Swensen has also developed a unique relationship with the SCO as soloist as well as conductor, performing – and recording – a number of the great violin concertos. In the last two years, he and the SCO have released five CDs together through the Orchestra’s partnership with Linn Records, of music by Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Brahms, Prokofiev and Dvořák.
Other conductors who appear regularly with the SCO include Nicholas McGegan, Andrew Litton, Frans Brüggen, John Storgårds and Emmanuel Krivine.
The SCO has led the way in music education, with a unique programme of projects. SCO Education provides workshops for children and adults across Scotland and has also attracted interest and invitations from overseas. Together with the City of Edinburgh Council, the SCO has appointed a Composer Laureate for Schools, Rory Boyle, who is currently involved in a three-year project creating three new pieces for school pupils to perform alongside members of the Orchestra. This and other projects encourage the participation and creativity of individuals, no matter how skilled, and endeavour to build relationships within the communities served by the Orchestra’s concert seasons and tours.
The Orchestra broadcasts regularly and has a discography now exceeding 140 recordings.
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The Scotland Cultural Profile was created in partnership with the Scottish Government and the British Council Scotland
Date updated: 9 January 2008
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