The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will continue to stream world-class music into people’s homes from January – to early April 2021 with performances from Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev [pictured], saxophonist Jess Gillam, and premieres from SCO Associate Composer Anna Clyne. The SCO also returns to this year’s Celtic Connections with award-winning folksinger and songwriter Karine Polwart and violinist Pekka Kuusisto. All concerts are broadcast via the Orchestra’s YouTube and Facebook channels unless otherwise stated.

Gavin Reid, Chief Executive, Scottish Chamber Orchestra says: “It is with great pleasure that we announce today a further sixteen SCO concerts taking us from the beginning of January 2021 until early April.

“The understanding and flexibility of our Business Partners, together with the thoughtful generosity of individual donations, has both enabled and encouraged us to keep our digital concerts free and to bring our music to as many people as possible. Whilst the SCO exists to serve audiences across Scotland, we are delighted to be showcasing the Orchestra further afield and have been buoyed by the positive responses to our autumn online concerts.

“We have curated a mixture of repertoire which we hope will delight the seasoned concertgoer as well as those new to the SCO. I am immensely grateful to our musicians for their input and their inspired musical choices for these coming weeks. I am sure the SCO will bring light, hope and joy though their performances in these winter months to music lovers everywhere – wherever they are.”

Concerts with Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO)’s Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev features in three concerts, starting with an evening of Hasse, Haydn, Bottesini & Bruch in which he is soloist in Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto in D major. SCO Leader Benjamin Marquise Gilmore and Principal Double Bass Nikita Naumov perform Bottesini’s Gran Duo Concertante, Principal Cello Philip Higham performs Bruch’s Kol Nidrei. The concert opens with Hasse’s Adagio and Fugue in G minor. (28 January, 7:30pm. Filmed at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh)

Emelyanychev is joined by Soprano Claire Booth, Tenor Andrew Staples and Baritone Roderick Williams for Stravinsky’s one-act ballet Pulcinella which is preceded by Prokofiev’s Symphony No 1 ‘Classical’. This concert is proudly sponsored and match funded by and Culture & Business Fund Scotland.      (4 February, 7:30pm. Filmed at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh)

The third concert with Emelyanychev sees him direct from the harpsichord Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 5 with SCO Principals, Violinist Stephanie Gonley and Flautist André Cebrián as fellow soloists. The evening is bookended with John Adams’ Shaker Loops and movements from Mozart’s Serenade in B-flat ‘Gran Partita’. This concert is proudly sponsored by Capital Document Solutions. (18 March, 7:30pm. Filmed at Perth Concert Hall)

SCO Associate Composer Anna Clyne

SCO Associate Composer Anna Clyne’s Stride receives its UK Premiere in a British-themed concert conducted by Andrew ManzeStride is co-commissioned by SCO, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. It draws inspiration from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No 8 in C minor ‘Pathétique’. Clyne took melodic, rhythmic and harmonic fragments from each movement from the Sonata and developed these in the three corresponding sections of Stride. The title derives from the striding left hand octave leaps in the first movement of Beethoven’s work which Clyne uses as a tool to propel the work forward. The programme also includes Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad sung by Baritone Benjamin Appl; Haydn’s Symphony No 99; and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending performed by Benjamin Marquise Gilmore. (4 March, 7:30pm. Filmed at Perth Concert Hall)

Oboist François Leleux directs SCO Wind Soloists in the World Premiere of Clyne’s Overflow which is inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem By The Sea, in which the reader experiences the ocean’s power over the poet’s imagination – both alluring, unsettling and dangerous. The piece takes its title from the line ‘would overflow with pearl’ which reminded Clyne of an image from Jalaluddin Rumi’s poem Where Everything is Music, whereby the tiniest motion of a pearl on the ocean floor can cause great waves above. The opening sonority of Overflow also draws inspiration from Rumi’s words of a ‘slow and powerful root that we can’t see,’ with a low B-flat, the lowest pitch of the ensemble, emerging from silence. The programme also features Raff’s Sinfonietta, and Strauss’ Suite in B-flat Op 4. This concert is proudly sponsored by the Institut français d’Écosse. (8 April, 7:30pm. Filmed at Perth Concert Hall)

Seek The Light

As the dark days of winter open out, Seek The Light, in association with Celtic Connections, offers a programme of music and song suffused with light, lyricism and hope. Finnish firebrand Pekka Kuusisto directs the SCO from the violin. He is joined by award-winning folksinger and songwriter Karine Polwart, and her bandmates Steven Polwart and Inge Thomson, in a selection of songs orchestrated by Pippa Murphy. Illuminated by supernovae, summer-seeking birds and nature spells, Karine’s songs are interwoven with Sibelius’ virtuosic and haunting Six Humoresques for solo violin and chamber orchestra. (29 January, 7:30pm. Filmed at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh)

Other Highlights

Peter Whelan directs the first concert of the New Year, opening with Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ overture to his opera L’Amant Anonyme and continuing with works by Mozart including his arrangement of Handel’s overture to Acis and Galatea. Mezzo-Soprano Katie Bray sings ‘Parto, parto ma tu ben mio’ from Mozart’s last opera La Clemenza di Tito and the Laudamus Te from his Mass in C minor. The concert closes with Mozart’s Symphony No 36 ‘Linz’. (7 January, 7:30pm. Filmed at Perth Concert Hall)

An SCO chamber ensemble performs Dvořák’s Miniatures; David Matthews’ arrangement of Krása’s Suite from Brundibár; the final movement from Hass’ String Quartet No 2 ‘Wild Night’ which invokes the air of a fiesta; and Martinů’s La Revue de Cuisine (14 January, 7:30pm. Filmed at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh). Baritone Marcus Farnsworth is the soloist in JC Bach’s Lamento Ach, daβ ich Wassers g’nug hätte in a programme that opens with Schop’s Pavane a 6 and also includes Telemann’s Cantata So grausam mächtig ist der Teufel; Muffat’s Sperantia Gaudia, from Florilegium Primum; Biber’s Serenata The Night Watchman; and Froberger’s Toccata III. (21 January, 7:30pm. Filmed at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh)

Matthew McVarish plays the roles of the Narrator, Devil and Soldier in a performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale conducted by Gordon Bragg. (11 February, 7:30pm. Filmed at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh)

Kristian Bezuidenhout joins the Orchestra for a concert of two Mendelssohn works. The programme opens with his String Symphony No 12 in G minor directed by Stephanie Gonley and then the two artists appear as joint soloists in his Concerto in D minor for Violin, Piano & Strings. This concert is kindly supported by Colin and Sue Buchan. (25 February, 7:30pm. Filmed at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh)

Saxophonist Jess Gillam makes her SCO debut performing Bryars’ The Green Ray, which is inspired by an atmospheric phenomenon seen at sunset in the West of Scotland just as the sun touches the horizon. Conducted by Joana Carneiro, the concert opens with Ives’ The Unanswered Question and closes with Beethoven’s Symphony No.1This concert is proudly sponsored by Pulsant. (11 March, 7:30pm. Filmed at Perth Concert Hall)

The musical adventure Stan and Mabel, written and illustrated by Jason Chapman and set to music by Paul Rissmann, is a fantastic introduction to classical music for younger children and ideal for 4-8-year olds. Made possible by the generous support of Baillie Gifford, whose sponsorship enables the SCO to reach thousands of people in communities across Scotland, the concert will see children’s TV presenter Chris Jarvis narrate the story of how Stan and Mabel came to audition for the Greatest Orchestra in the World. Conducted by Gregory BatsleerStan and Mabel will be accompanied by a host of specially created digital resources and activities. (5 March, schools’ performance & 13 March, public, online broadcast. Filmed at Perth Concert Hall)

Bringing this collection of concerts to a close, Pianist Susan Tomes joins SCO players in a performance of Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor and Fauré’s Piano Quartet in C minor. (25 March, 7:30pm. Filmed at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh)

Laidlaw Live Series

Live lunchtime concerts from the Laidlaw Music Centre at the University of St Andrews, where the SCO is Orchestra in Residence, continue from January – March 2021. SCO musicians perform Britten’s Phantasy Quartet, Op 2 Quartet, MacMillan’s Tuireadh, and Prokofiev’s Quintet in G minor, Op 29 in February (3 February, 1:10pm) and music by Purcell, Reich, Pärt, Howard and Andriessen in March. (17 March 1:10pm, both concerts are streamed live via the SCO and University of St Andrews’ Music Centre YouTube and Facebook channels)

For full listings