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BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra


This cornerstone of Scottish musical life was founded in 1935. The composer and conductor Ian Whyte created the first full-time orchestral ensemble in Scotland, beginning as a small studio orchestra, one of many ensembles that were employed by the BBC in cities across Britain.

The orchestra fulfills a busy schedule of studio recordings and concerts, the majority being broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The orchestra is active in commissioning and promoting new music, having worked with many leading composers over the years from Britten and Shostakovich to Kurtág and Tan Dun, and it is especially proud of its support for Scottish composers. It appears in all the major towns and cities in Scotland, with a season of concerts in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Stirling and Ayr. Elsewhere it performs in major UK venues, and gives concerts each summer at the BBC Proms in London.

The BBC SSO plays a unique rôle in the Edinburgh International Festival as interpreter of the most challenging scores, from Schoenberg’s huge opera Moses und Aaron to the first complete performance of the monumental work Triduum by Scottish composer James MacMillan.

The orchestra’s international standing has been enhanced by visits to major European cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna, Rome, Zurich and Frankfurt. In November 2000 it made a major two week tour of China, the first Scottish orchestra ever to tour there, and in March 2001 the SSO toured the eastern seaboard of the USA.

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