It seems a very long time ago since I wrote about how our Season is planned. The last six months have seen everything turned on its head, with unprecedented challenges for everyone working in the performing arts.
As news of the pandemic started to come through at the beginning of the year, we started closely monitoring the situation – the SCO had a tour in May, which was to include our first visits to China and Singapore. It was unclear how things would develop globally in the coming weeks and months but given the high uncertainty we reluctantly decided to postpone the tour with the hope of rescheduling it in 2021. In place of the Asia dates we quickly arranged a local tour with our soloist, Colin Currie, taking in Dunfermline, Dunoon and Dollar. Sadly the ‘D-Tour’, as it became known, itself fell victim to the lockdown.
After wonderful concerts with Nicola Benedetti and Lawrence Power in March, it was hugely disappointing to have to cancel our concerts up to Easter, and subsequently up to the end of the Season. It seems incredible now, that in late March there were newspaper headlines actually asking “Could coronavirus be over by Easter?”
With no concerts in prospect (and working from our home ‘offices‘), sustaining the members of the Orchestra and keeping in contact with you, our audience members have been our top priorities these last months.
Fortunately, new technology came to our aid just at the right moment. Meetings moved online, and we have been able to stay in touch with our audiences through the SCO’s YouTube channel.
We’ve been delighted to welcome many of you to the ‘Live from your Living Room’ sessions which SCO players, guest artists and our Marketing team have created, so that you can tune in from the comfort of home. At the end of September, SCO musicians took part in Edinburgh’s digital Doors Open Day - the videos can be viewed here.
...keeping in contact with you, our audience members have been our top priorities these last months.
Alongside this, the Concerts team has been working hard to reschedule some of the most distinctive concerts from the end of the 2019/20 Season, so that you will be able to enjoy them as originally planned. Our 2021/22 Season will include Nikita Naumov in the UK premiere of Peter Eötvös’ Double Bass Concerto ‘Aurora’; the Vivaldi Gloria with SCO Chorus; Mozart, Debussy and Schubert with Maxim Emelyanychev; the Scottish premiere of Helen Grime’s Percussion Concerto with Colin Currie; and Pekka Kuusisto’s wonderful programme of American music including the UK Premiere of Nico Muhly’s new Violin Concerto. We’re also looking for new opportunities to re-invite artists, and to reschedule specific programmes and commissions, which have sadly fallen by the wayside over the summer.
At the time of writing, we are awaiting confirmation of when – and where – we will be able to recommence live performance – albeit with reduced numbers on the stage and in the audience. We have been working closely with an Artistic Planning Group of players to create a reimagined Autumn programme of small live and online events, which will reflect the original programmes while also taking opportunities to explore composers and repertoire which will be new to many of us.
We’re looking forward to bringing chamber groups to those venues which are able to host events, as well as presenting four specially-filmed orchestral concerts starting with the Season Opener, Nicola Benedetti and Maxim Emelyanychev in Bruch’s Violin Concerto.
The Bruch was to have been the centrepiece of a 9-concert tour to the USA in October; very sadly, this tour had to be cancelled but again, we are in discussion with our tour management and are optimistic about rescheduling in a couple of years’ time.
It’s been a strange few months of constant uncertainty and change. Who knows what the New Year will bring? We’re hopeful for the future but whatever the circumstances, we will find ways to continue sharing our music with you. Meanwhile, a huge thanks to all my colleagues in Team Concerts and to all of you whose generous support and encouragement has sustained us all since March.
Getting the show on the road
19 August 2021An exciting August returning to live performances, we take a look at our highlights from the month.
A return to live music making
12 August 2021Celebrating our much longed-for return to live music-making with of 27 performances across Scotland from September to December 2021
Through the eyes of...Louisa Stanway
7 July 2021SCO Concerts & Projects Manager, Louisa Stanway, takes us backstage for an insight into the planning of a Digital Concert Series.