The new principal conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra gave his debut performance, in Russia, aged twelve.
Now, at just 31, Maxim Emelyanychev is taking over from Robin Ticciati and brings a starry line-up of musicians to his first season.
Launched last night at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh, the programme for 2019/20 features home grown and international talent, with violinist Nicola Benedetti, mezzo-soprano Karin Cargill and percussionist Colin Currie leading the Scottish headliners.
The free spirited Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, described as one of a kind, performs over three concerts, playing Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Sibelius, as well as contemporary composers including Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner.
Among the world class international soloists and conductors are François Leleux, Javier Perianes, Klaus Mäkelä, Lawrence Power, Carolin Widmann, Nicolas Altstaedt, Joseph Swensen, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Thomas Zehetmair, Xavier de Maistre, Emmanuel Krivine, Andrew Manze.
And newly appointed SCO associate composer Anna Clyne reveals her first commission from the SCO alongside her Grammy nominated work, Prince of Clouds.
The SCO will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with his nine symphonies packed into four concerts, conducted by Emelyanychev, Andrew Manze, and Emmanuel Krivine. And early music specialist Kristian Bezuidenhout will direct the great composer’s Triple Concerto from the piano.
The season opens with French conductor François Leleux directing the orchestra in Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony and Beethoven’s Egmont Overture. He is joined by Javier Perianes, 2019 International Classical Music Awards Artist of the Year, performing Brahms’ First Piano Concerto.
In his first official concert as principal conductor, Emelyanychev has chosen Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto, with award winning German violinist Carolin Widmann making her SCO debut.
Emelyanychev, a harpsichordist and pianist, will combine period and modern instruments with the SCO in Baroque Dances in January 2020, featuring French and German music from Lully’s humorous Le Bourgeois gentilhomme to the cannons and frogs of Telemann’s Alster Overture Suite and Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes.
Once again directing from the keyboard, Emelyanychev opens his final concert this season with Debussy’s Prélude à l’après midi d’un faune before introducing audiences to Louise Farrenc’s Third Symphony, a forgotten masterpiece.
One of the season’s highlights will be Mozart’s Requiem, showing off the wonders of the SCO chorus, conducted by Klaus Mäkelä, the young Finn just appointed chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic.
The SCO chorus also performs under the baton of Emelyanychev, directing from the harpsichord, in Vivaldi’s glorious Gloria in March.
Cellist Nicolas Altstaedt conducts the orchestra while playing the dramatic and demanding Shostakovich Cello Concerto, its heroism echoed in Beethoven’s Overture from Coriolan. Celebrating the Queen’s Hall in its 40th year, a pair of magnificent concertos – Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto in D and Schumann’s Piano Concerto – will demonstrate pianist Piotr Anderszewski’s virtuosity.
In the Usher Hall in March 2020, Nicola Benedetti performs the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and also partners with viola player Lawrence Power in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. This concert is part of the Quilter Cheviot Benedetti Series begun last year in which the violinist plays and directs the orchestra.
Chamber Sundays return with three concerts across the season at 3pm in Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall from SCO soloists and Maxim Emelyanychev on the keyboard, pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout and the SCO String Ensemble, and SCO Wind Soloists with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Wind Students.
Emelyanychev said: ‘I am very happy to be principal conductor, and am greatly inspired by the two SCO productions I have been involved with so far, making fantastic collaborations with these excellent musicians.
‘In this, my first full season, we will share with you a variety of interesting and diverse programmes from the baroque to modern music written just a few years ago. That they are also from a range of countries will show off the many different genres and styles of the SCO.’
Gavin Reid, chief executive of the SCO, said: ‘It is with great anticipation that we welcome Maxim Emelyanychev to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and we all very much look forward to his opening concerts as our new principal conductor.’
The orchestra continues to offer free tickets to under 18s and £6 tickets to those under 26 (students and unemployed).
To see the full programme visit www.sco.org.uk