Did you know...? October at the SCO

As the Orchestra and Chorus prepare for the Opening Concert of our 2017/18 Season, we’ve compiled some fascinating facts and insights into the music and artists featuring in our three October concerts.

1. Legendary pianist Mitsuko Uchida is a self-confessed Tour de France addict.

Japanese-born Mitsuko Uchida is especially renowned for her interpretations of Mozart and she brings rich insights into the music she plays through her own quest for truth and beauty. She recently had the honour of performing the opening piano recital at Hamburg’s shiny new Elphilharmonie in January 2017 and The Herald described her five star solo recital at the Edinburgh International Festival as risk-taking, fiery, and fearless. She'll be well warmed up for her performance with SCO next month, which immediately follows a performance of Mozart Piano Concerto No 27 with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

But did you know…? In a 2013 Guardian interview, Uchida enlightened us on her unimaginable private past times: “Suduko. I’m a freak. It keeps your mind alert but with zero emotion. A novel would be too big a distraction but poetry is fine… I’m a Tour de France addict”.

Experience a tour de force with exquisite pedalling technique at our Season Opener (12/13 October)

Mitusko Uchida

2. Pianist Igor Levit takes his career seriously. In fact, he lost 5 stones to improve his performance.

Just listen to these epithets being used to describe Russian-German pianist Igor Levit? Winner of Gramophone’s Recording of the Year 2016 and “one of the essential artists of his generation” (The New York Times). He’s even been called the future of piano and the player of the century. He’s certainly riding the wave of musical stardom, with high-profile debuts in 2017/18 at the Royal Concertgebouw, Vienna and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. He’s intensely passionate about politics and journalism, and firmly believes that musicians aren’t somehow above the rough and tumble of daily life - did you hear about his somewhat controversial BBC Proms encore last month? 

But did you know…? Igor Levit takes his career seriously. So much so, in fact, that he recently underwent a staggering “recalibration of the body” (in his own words) with the help of a close friend and physiotherapist to address his piano posture and bad dietary habits. He lost 5 stones in the process! 

Hear Igor Levit perform Schumann Piano Concerto (19/20 October)

Levit plays Bach

3. Despite suffering from severe mental illness, Schumann composed some of the most inspiring and moving masterworks of the Romantic period. 

There has never been a time when guest conductor Richard Egarr hasn’t brought his A-game to the SCO podium. Last year, our players “lapped up his enthusiastic, energetic, demandingly precise direction in an electrifying, provocative concert” (The Arts Desk). He returns in October alongside our Orchestra, Chorus and a team of world-class soloists to breathe life into Robert Schumann’s rarely performed and surprisingly untroubled farewell - his Requiem in D-flat. 

But did you know…? Schumann spent the last two years of his life in a mental asylum, having voluntarily committed himself. Like his Violin Concerto, the Requiem was denounced by Schumann's friends after his death as a second rate work composed while the master's mind was disintegrating. Perhaps, now in a time when the stigma surrounding mental health is slowly improving, we’ll experience this work afresh and appreciate the true genius of his writing. Brahms’ Serenade No 2, which precedes our performance of the Requiem, was dedicated to Schumann’s widow Clara in 1859. 

Hear our Orchestra and Chorus perform Schumann Requiem (26/27 October)



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