Media Release: Former music director makes first return to RSNO


STEPHANE Denève, music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra from 2005 to 2012, returns to his former orchestra for the first time as part of the ensemble’s 125th anniversary celebrations, with a typically diverse programme.

Denève Returns: The Auld Alliance presents Debussy’s Marche écossaise, Ravel’s La Valse and Piano Concerto for the Left Hand (with the later accompanied by Scottish pianist Steven Osborne as soloist), the Scottish première of James MacMillan’s Legend of Ossian-inspired The Death of Oscar and Richard Strauss’ tone poem Death and Transfiguration.

Since his departure in 2012, Stéphane has led Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra as chief conductor, and last year accepted the post of chief conductor of The Brussels Philharmonic. In 2014, Stéphane was also appointed principal guest conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra. His time with the RSNO is best remembered for the re-emergence of romantic and impressionistic French music as a part of the orchestra’s core repertoire.

Said former RSNO music director, Stéphane Denève: “What a joy to make music again in Scotland with an orchestra which is very dear to my heart!

“And to see again the warmest audiences I ever made music for, the great Scottish music lovers! I am also looking forward to discover the new home of the RSNO, which I so desired and lobbied during my time at the helm of the RSNO.

|I have heard fabulous reviews about it, so I am thrilled to finally experience it with a rich repertoire from my native France, from Germany where I lived recently and also from Scotland with an exciting new piece composed by the genius James MacMillan, inspired by a marvellous sculpture from my good old friend Alexander Stoddart. A perfect reunion!”

RSNO chief executive, Dr Krishna Thiagarajan, added: “I can confidently speak for my colleagues when I say that we are very much looking forward to Stéphane’s return in April.

“He is an intrinsic part of the history of this organisation and the programme he has chosen references a particular strength he brought to the orchestra during his tenure as music director.

“I’m delighted he chooses to perform a new work by James MacMillan, whose music Stéphane fell in love with while in Scotland, and has since championed around the world.

“But we could not let him return without insisting on enjoying his interpretations of Debussy and Ravel, which won so many of our audiences over. Likewise, the return of Conductor Emeritus, Alexander Lazarev, will be an event to look forward to for our audiences who have fond memories of his electrifying and informed complete symphonic cycles of Shostakovich and Prokofiev.”

The following week Stéphane Denève’s predecessor, RSNO Conductor Emeritus, Alexander Lazarev (RSNO principal conductor from 1997 to 2007) re-joins the orchestra to perform selected movements from Prokofiev’s ballet music Cinderella, as well as accompanying pianist Nikolai Lugansky for his first concerto, Concerto No4 (for the Left Hand) of a Prokofiev cycle with the RSNO across 2016.

Denève Returns: The Auld Alliance appears at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 8 April and at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 9 April. Lazarev Conducts Cinderella features at Perth Concert Hall on Thursday 14 April, at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 15 April and at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 16 April.

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