Scottish Symphony Orchestra names new conductor

Thomas Dausgaard, who is taking over from Donald Runnicles. Picture: PAThomas Dausgaard, who is taking over from Donald Runnicles. Picture: PA
Thomas Dausgaard, who is taking over from Donald Runnicles. Picture: PA
THE BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra has named its new chief conductor as it launches its 2015/16 season, during which it will celebrate its 80th birthday.

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

The Dane 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.

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He has also appeared as a guest conductor with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (SSO), performing a wide range of repertoire from Dvorak and Tchaikovsky to Ives, Lindberg and Schnelzer.

Mr Dausgaard, who is taking up the post on a three-year contract, 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.”

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

Current chief conductor Mr Runnicles will open and close the season with 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.

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BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie 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.”

The orchestra will celebrate its 80th birthday in December with a special concert which includes a UK premiere from Matthais Pintcher, the BBC SSO’s Artist-in-Association, as well as Mozart’s Oboe Concerto and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.