Review of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with Peter Oundjian, Conductor, and Nicola Benedetti, Violin; Presented by the Sarasota Concert Association at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

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The Van Wezel was on fire on March 16, 2017 with Scotland’s culture and zest.   Peter Oundjian, in a lush performance of three demanding classics, led the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with style and grace.

Oundjian’s vigorous conducting and obvious rapport with the musicians created an energetic yet rhapsodic experience for the Sarasota audience.  Oundjian trained in Violin and held a top position with the Tokyo String Quartet, and he is currently Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  These two orchestras are amongst the finest worldwide.

In Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor the music was distinct and well balanced, preparing us for the romantic period selections to follow.  Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony in F Minor flowed over us like a gentle warm wind, bringing standing ovations several times during the performance.

Nicola Benedetti’s solo in Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major delighted us with her intensity and precision.  Benedetti played the Gabriel Stradivarius of 1717 with her mind, body, and spirit, creating a transformative wave of pleasure.  Many listened with eyes closed as they bathed in the softness of the experience.  Benedetti has numerable honors and is known for her work with musical charities.

As Benedetti’s signed CDs in the Lobby at intermission, she appeared rested and refreshed, as if the intensity of her music had rejuvenated her during this arduous American tour.

The concert closed with a rousing Scottish version of an American classic, Oklahoma, bringing the near capacity crowd to their feet and wishing for more.

 

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[National Tour Press Release]

Royal Scottish National Orchestra Florida Tour
March 13-22, 2017
With Music Director Peter Oundjian at the helm and Scottish superstar violinist Nicola Benedetti, the RSNO will fly the flag for Scotland in the United States with eight concerts in seven cities throughout Florida

This tour, marking the RSNO’s first trip to the States in thirty-five years will include engagements in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Vero Beach, Gainesville, Fort Myers and Daytona Beach

“It is my view that cultural exchange is now more important than ever and in times of uncertainty and global changes we can all seek inspiration and solace in the arts.” RSNO Chief Executive Dr Krishna Thiagarajan

ST. PETERSBURG, FL/NEW YORK, NY – February 9, 2017 – This March, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra will embark upon its first trip to the United States in more than 35 years.  The RSNO, together with Music Director Peter Oundjian and violinist Nicola Benedetti will perform throughout the state of Florida with stops in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Vero Beach, Gainesville, Fort Myers, Sarasota and Daytona Beach.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s Music Director Peter Oundjian is leading the ensemble in a two-year 125th anniversary celebration which started in October 2015. Appointed Music Director of the RSNO in 2012, the British-Canadian conductor has become recognized for his probing musicality, collaborative spirit, and engaging personality. During the first five seasons with Oundjian at the helm, the Orchestra undertook an artistically and critically successful first tour of China, performed at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival and released two recordings under his leadership.

“Under Mr. Oundjian,” writes the New York Times, “the orchestra has maintained its shine, but it now packs a firm punch as well.” While the RSNO is well-known to classical music listeners for its 200-plus recordings – eight of them GRAMMY® nominated – the upcoming tour will give American audiences the first opportunity in decades to hear the orchestra live.

While in Florida, the RSNO will perform two programs. Program I includes Borodin: Overture to Prince Igor; Brahms: Violin Concerto op. 77, D major, and Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4. op. 36, F minor, while Program II includes Debussy: Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1and Beethoven: Symphony No. 5.

“It’s been over 30 years since Scotland’s national orchestra visited the United States,” writes Peter Oundjian. “So it is my honour and privilege to lead my fellow musicians on this tour. I’m thrilled that we are joined by one of the RSNO’s favourite soloists, Nicola Benedetti. Our shared passion for the concertos of Brahms and Bruch is sure to bring performances of deep commitment.  Two of the most beloved pieces in the entire orchestral repertoire, Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4 are wonderful showcases for the brilliant musicians of the RSNO. I have visited Florida many times during my career but this promises to be a very special occasion on this esteemed orchestra’s 125th anniversary year.”

Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today.  With concerto performances at the heart of her career, Nicola is in much demand with major orchestras and conductors across the globe, but performing with the RSNO is always a homecoming for her. “I am thrilled to be touring the US with the RSNO and Peter Oundjian in celebration of their 125th birthday,” says Benedetti. “This collaboration is so close and familial, and a nurturing environment within which to really explore music like the celebrated and beloved Bruch and Brahms violin concertos we’ll perform together. The fact that this is their first tour in 30 years to the States makes it all the more special.”

“It gives me great pleasure to announce the return of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to North America after a near 30 year absence,” says RSNO Chief Executive Dr Krishna Thiagarajan. “Having taken the reins of this storied organisation two years ago we are now well on our way to an international focus that will take us to Spain, Germany, Austria, China and the USA over three seasons. I cannot imagine a better way to celebrate the 125 year anniversary of this orchestra that together with Peter Oundjian included Neeme Järvi, George Szell and Sir Alexander Gibson among its Music Directors with strong North American ties. And, of course, we are thrilled to be working with Scotland’s own Nicola Benedetti, who has been a part of the Royal Scottish National family since the early beginnings of her career. Peter and Nicola have been a great team with their artistic partnership recently culminating in our recording of the Szymanowski Violin concerto No2, soon to be released on the Decca label. As Scotland’s National Orchestra we are looking forward to serving American audiences on this tour and bringing the inspiration back to Scotland and Great Britain. I hope you will join us!”

Royal Scottish National Orchestra with violinist Nicola Benedetti
Florida Tour March 13-22, 2017
Program I
Borodin, Overture to Prince Igor
Brahms, Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 4    Program II
Debussy, Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune
Bruch, Violin Concerto No. 1
Beethoven, Symphony No. 5
March 13th    Fort Lauderdale    Broward Center for the Performing Arts (Program I)
March 14th    West Palm Beach    Kravis Center for the Performing Arts  (Program I)
March 15th    West Palm Beach    Kravis Center for the Performing Arts (Program II)
March 16th    Sarasota    Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall (Program I)
March 17th    Vero Beach    Indian River Symphonic Organization (Program II)
March 19th    Gainesville    University of Florida Phillips Performing Arts Centre (Program II w/ Brahms Concerto)
March 20th    Fort Myers    Mann Performing Arts Hall
March 22nd    Daytona Beach    Peabody Auditorium (Program I w/Debussy)

About the Royal Scottish National Orchestra:
Formed in 1891 as the Scottish Orchestra, the company became the Scottish National Orchestra in 1950, and was awarded Royal Patronage in 1977. Throughout its history, the Orchestra has played an integral part in Scotland’s musical life. Many renowned conductors have contributed to its success, including George Szell, Sir John Barbirolli, Walter Susskind, Sir Alexander Gibson, Neeme Järvi, Walter Weller, Alexander Lazarev and Stéphane Denève.

The Orchestra’s current artistic team is led by British Canadian conductor Peter Oundjian, who joined as Music Director in 2012. Dane Thomas Søndergård was appointed as Principal Guest Conductor in the same year, and Holly Mathieson joins as Assistant Conductor from 2016.

The RSNO performs across Scotland, including concerts in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness. The Orchestra appears regularly at the Edinburgh International Festival, the BBC Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall and the St Magnus Festival, Orkney, and has made recent tours to France, Germany, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Serbia. In December 2012 and January 2013 the Orchestra undertook its first mainland Asia visit with a hugely successful tour of China with Peter Oundjian. The RSNO was an active participant in the cultural programme of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, held in Glasgow and in the same year hosted the Ryder Cup Gala Concert . The RSNO has a worldwide reputation for the quality of its recordings, receiving two Diapason d’Or de l’année awards for Symphonic Music (Denève/Roussel 2007; Denève/Debussy 2012) and eight GRAMMY Awards nominations over the last decade. Over 200 releases are available, including the complete symphonies of Sibelius (Gibson), Prokofiev (Järvi), Glazunov (Serebrier), Nielsen and Martinů (Thomson), Roussel (Denève) and the major orchestral works of Debussy (Denève).

The RSNO’s Learning and Engagement team deliver progressive participatory music-making activities across Scotland, working with all ages and abilities. With programs for newborns and onwards, the team are committed to delivering high quality workshops as well as nurturing and developing new talent. From schools and nursery concerts, to community workshops and annual residencies during which the Orchestra places itself at the center of Scottish communities, the team connects the Orchestra, its music and musicians with the people of Scotland.

About Peter Oundjian
British-Canadian conductor Peter Oundjian was appointed Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2012, and during that time has become recognized for his probing musicality, collaborative spirit, and engaging personality. Peter continues to champion a broad range of music, including romantic repertoire as well as large-scale choral masterpieces and the works of twentieth century American composers.

Peter is also Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and has been an instrumental figure in the rebirth of the Canadian ensemble since his appointment as Music Director in 2004. He has created the annual Mozart Festival, as well as the hugely successful New Creations Festival, celebrating the best in contemporary orchestral music, as well as showcasing and premiering commissioned works. In 2008, he launched tsoLIVE with the orchestra, a self-produced label of the orchestra’s live concert recordings. Oundjian has since released six recordings on the label, including Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 (June 2012), Vaughan Williams Symphony Nos. 4 & 5 (December 2011) and Holst’s The Planets (March 2011).

Few conductors bring such musicianship and engagement to the world’s great podiums—from Berlin, Amsterdam, and Tel Aviv, to New York, Chicago, and Sydney. He has also appeared at some of the great annual gatherings of music and music-lovers: from the London Proms and the Prague Spring Festival, to the Edinburgh Festival and The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Mozart Festival where he was Artistic Director from 2003 to 2005.

Peter was Principal Guest Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 2006 to 2010. Since 1981, he has served as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Music, and was awarded the university’s Sanford Medal in 2013. In May 2009 Mr Oundjian received an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Conservatory.

Toronto-born, Peter was educated in England, and originally trained as a violinist, attending the Royal College of Music in London before studying at the Juilliard School in New York. He was the first violinist of the renowned Tokyo String Quartet, a position he held for fourteen years. Peter Oundjian is in now in his 32nd year as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Music. In May 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Conservatory.

About Nicola Benedetti
Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today. With concerto performances at the heart of her career, Nicola is in much demand with major orchestras and conductors across the globe. Highlights of the 2016/17 season include performances with the London Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Toronto Symphony amongst many others.  This season will see the continuation of the premiere performance circuit of the Wynton Marsalis Violin Concerto written for Nicola with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C.  The season additionally features two extensive tours of North America with the Venice Baroque Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra that take her from Baltimore’s Shriver Hall to Los Angeles’s Disney Concert Hall.

Most recently Nicola has enjoyed collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Verdi Orchestra Milano, Camerata Salzburg, Berlin Konzerthausorchester, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, La Cetra Barockorchester, Orchestre Capitole du Toulouse, Iceland Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival.

Winner of Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). The enormous success of Nicola’s recording, Homecoming; A Scottish Fantasy, made Nicola the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the Official UK Albums Chart. She is credited with broadening the appeal of classical music to young and new audiences through her extensive education work and appearances at events such the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony and iTunes Festival. Nicola was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours, in recognition of her international music career and work with musical charities throughout the UK.

 

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[Sarasota Press Release]

Sarasota Concert Association presents Royal Scottish National Orchestra Peter Oundjian, Conductor, with Nicola Benedetti, Violin March 16 at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

In celebration of its 125th anniversary, the acclaimed Royal Scottish National Orchestra teams up with superstar violinist Nicola Benedetti for its first U.S. tour in 35 years.

“There were riches aplenty for those who immersed themselves in conductor Peter Oundjian and the RSNO’s enthralling interpretations.” – The Scotsman

“Benedetti achieves what so many classical musicians don’t: she appeals to those who might not otherwise set foot in a concert hall.” – The Oxford Cultural Review

(Sarasota, Florida) The Sarasota Concert Association (SCA) continues its 72nd Great Performers Series’ season with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), conducted by music director Peter Oundjian, with violin soloist Nicola Benedetti, Thursday, March 16, 7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. The concert, a part of the RSNO’s 125th anniversary tour and the orchestra’s first visit to the U.S. in 35 years, features Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor, Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F Minor. Single tickets are $45-$90. Students admitted free with ID; accompanying adults $25. Tickets and information for the Great Performers Series are available by calling 941-225-6500 or online at www.scasarasota.org.

Formed in 1891, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra has played an integral part in Scotland’s musical life with many renowned conductors contributing to its success. To celebrate its 125th anniversary, music director Peter Oundjian is leading the ensemble on a two-year 125th anniversary tour that began in October 2015. While the RSNO is well-known to classical music listeners for its 200-plus recordings, the anniversary tour gives American audiences the first opportunity in more than three decades to hear the orchestra live. “It’s been over 30 years since Scotland’s national orchestra visited the United States,” says Oundjian. “It is my honour and privilege to lead my fellow musicians on this tour.”

British-Canadian conductor Peter Oundjian was appointed music director in 2012 and, since then, has won acclaim for his probing musicality, collaborative spirit, and engaging personality. During its first five seasons with Oundjian at the helm, the RSNO undertook an artistically and critically successful first tour of China, performed at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival and released two recordings. “Under Mr. Oundjian,” writes the New York Times, “the orchestra has maintained its shine, but it now packs a firm punch as well.” Oundjian is also music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Since 1981, he has served as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Music, and was awarded the university’s Sanford Medal in 2013.

Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high-profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today. Most recently Benedetti has enjoyed collaborations with the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Verdi Orchestra Milano, Camerata Salzburg, Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The enormous success of her recording, “Homecoming; A Scottish Fantasy,” made Benedetti the first solo British violinist since the 1990s to enter the Top 20 of the official UK albums chart. Benedetti  is also credited with broadening the appeal of classical music to young and new audiences through her extensive education outreach work and appearances at events such the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony and iTunes Festival.

“I’m thrilled that we are joined by one of the RSNO’s favourite soloists, Nicola Benedetti,” says Oundjiansbs. “Our shared passion for the concertos of Brahms and Bruch is sure to bring performances of deep commitment.”

The SCA concludes its 2017-18 Great Performers Series season on March 30 with Sergei Babayan and Daniil Trifonov, 7:30 p.m. at the Van Wezel.  Tickets are available at www.scasarasota.org.

SCA also presents a series of free daytime concerts that include performances by high-caliber, area-based artists, continuing through April 2017. The Music Matinee Series is designed to offer a variety of musical genres, including classical, folk, and jazz, featuring both vocal and instrumental performers. For more information about the 2016-2017 Music Matinee Series, visit www.scasarasota.org.

About the Sarasota Concert Association
The Sarasota Concert Association (SCA) is a nonprofit organization that fosters greater appreciation for world-class classical music by offering the community two engaging programs from November to April. The Great Performers Series, in its 72nd season, brings world-renowned orchestras and chamber

groups to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and the Riverview Performing Arts Center. The Music Matinee Series features outstanding regional artists in free community concerts at Beatrice Friedman Symphony Hall and other venues. For more information about SCA, visit www.scasarasota.org.

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