Scottish Chamber Orchestra

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) is an Edinburgh-based UK chamber orchestra. One of Scotland's five National Performing Arts Companies, the SCO performs throughout Scotland, including annual tours of the Scottish Highlands and Islands and South of Scotland. The SCO appears regularly at the Edinburgh, East Neuk, St Magnus and Aldeburgh Festivals and The Proms. The SCO's international touring receives support from the Scottish Government. The SCO rehearses mainly at Edinburgh's Queen's Hall.


The SCO was formed in 1974, with Roderick Brydon as its first Principal Conductor, from 1974 to 1983. Other principal conductors have included Jukka-Pekka Saraste (1987–1991) and Ivor Bolton (1994–1996). The American violinist and conductor Joseph Swensen served as Principal Conductor from 1996 to 2005, and is now the SCO's Conductor Emeritus. Sir Charles Mackerras held the position of Conductor Laureate until his death in 2010. The Estonian conductor Olari Elts served as the SCO's Principal Guest Conductor from October 2007 to September 2010.[1] Robin Ticciati was principal conductor from 2009 through 2018.[2] with an initial contract of 3 years.[3][4] Emmanuel Krivine became the SCO's principal guest conductor in September 2015.[5][6]

In March 2018, Maxim Emelyanychev first guest-conducted the SCO, as an emergency substitute for Ticciati. Based on this appearance, in May 2018, the SCO announced the appointment of Emelyanychev as its sixth principal conductor, effective with the 2019-2020 season.[7] In November 2019, the SCO announced the extension of Emelyanychev's contract as principal conductor through 2025.[8]

The SCO's work in contemporary music has included collaborations with Gordon Crosse,[9] John McLeod,[10] and with Peter Maxwell Davies, notably the series of Strathclyde Concertos.[11][12] Einojuhani Rautavaara's Autumn Gardens received its world premiere with the SCO in 1999.[13] The SCO premiered Sally Beamish's Concerto for Orchestra (Sangsters) in November 2002.[14] The SCO has commissioned over 100 new works, from composers including Peter Maxwell Davies (the SCO's Composer Laureate), Mark-Anthony Turnage, Judith Weir, Sally Beamish, Karin Rehnqvist, Lyell Cresswell, James MacMillan, Hafliði Hallgrímsson, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Stuart MacRae, Edward Harper and Martin Suckling (appointed SCO Associate Composer in 2013).[15]

The SCO has recorded for a number of labels, including Deutsche Grammophon[16] and Hyperion.[17] It has a recording partnership with the Glasgow-based record company, Linn Records,[18] with whom it has recorded 12 albums, including several recordings of Mozart symphonies conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras[19][20] and an album of Berlioz conducted by Ticciati.[21]

Past SCO chief executives have included Roy McEwan-Brown. In April 2016, the SCO announced the appointment of Gavin Reid as its current chief executive, effective 29 August 2016.[22]

Principal conductors


  1. Marisa Duffy (6 September 2007). "A season of musical delights". The Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2007.
  2. Tim Cornwell (10 October 2008). "He's young and talented..and the future of classical music". The Scotsman. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  3. Phil Miller (10 October 2008). "'Exciting young conductor' to take over baton at Scottish orchestra". The Herald. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  4. Keith Bruce (22 March 2017). "The SCO's fine send-off season for conductor Robin Ticciati". The Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  5. "Scottish Chamber Orchestra appoints Emmanuel Krivine as Principal Guest Conductor" (PDF) (Press release). Scottish Chamber Orchestra. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  6. "Scottish orchestra to benefit from the French connection". The Herald. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  7. "Scottish Chamber Orchestra announces new Principal Conductor as Maxim Emelyanychev" (PDF) (Press release). Scottish Chamber Orchestra. 29 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  8. "Scottish Chamber Orchestra Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev extends contract until 2025" (PDF) (Press release). Scottish Chamber Orchestra. 19 November 2019. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  9. Northcott, Bayan, "Recordings: Crosse: Elegy, Op.1 (1959-61); Symphony No.1, Op.13A (1976); Dreamsongs, Op.43 (1978)" (June 1981). Tempo (New Ser.), 137: 49-51.
  10. MacDonald , Calum, "The Music of John McLeod" (April 1982). The Musical Times, 123 (1670): pp. 255-258
  11. Johnson, David, "Reports: Scotland" (May 1984). The Musical Times, 125 (1695): pp. 284-285.
  12. Warnaby, John, "Record Review - Maxwell Davies: Strathclyde Concerto No. 9 / Strathclyde Concerto No. 10 / Carolisima" (July 1997). Tempo (New Ser.), 201: pp. 53-55.
  13. Edward Greenfield (28 July 1999). "A real find among Finns". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  14. Tom Service (18 November 2002). "SCO/Knussen (Matt Thomson Hall, Glasgow)". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  15. Kate Molleson (2 February 2014). "Martin Suckling is calm and composed for SCO 40th anniversary". The Herald. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  16. Andrew Clements (31 March 2006). "Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito, Trost/Martinpelto/Kozena/Milne/Rice/Relyea/SCO and Chorus/Mackerras". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  17. Anthony Holden (23 September 2007). "This week's classical CDs (Beethoven, The Symphonies)". The Observer. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  18. Keith Bruce (8 November 2019). "Album review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Maxim Emelyanychev, Schubert Symphony No.9 The Great". The Herald. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  19. Anthony Holden (24 February 2008). "Classical CD releases". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  20. Stephen Pritchard (7 March 2010). "Mozart: Symphonies 29, 31, 32, 35 & 36". The Observer. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  21. Andrew Clements (5 April 2012). "Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique; Overture to Beatrice and Benedict – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  22. "Announcing our new Chief Executive! Gavin Reid to succeed Roy McEwan at the helm of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra" (Press release). Scottish Chamber Orchestra. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
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