About Us

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The internationally celebrated Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) is made up of a unique collection of talented musicians who inspire and connect with people of all ages.

We aim to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to hear live orchestral music by touring the length and breadth of Scotland and around the world as proud ambassadors for Scottish cultural excellence. In recent years, the Orchestra has travelled throughout Europe, the Far East, India and the USA.

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Playing with the sco is a great privilege and as a group of musicians we love the interaction we get with our audience. All the different venues we play in and all the different audiences we perform to keep everything fresh for the musicians and keep the music feeling alive.
Eric de Wit, Cellist
"THE SCOTTISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA MUST BE ONE OF THE FINEST ENSEMBLES OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD TODAY" BBC Music Magazine

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra makes a significant contribution to Scottish life both on the concert platform and beyond, working in schools, universities, hospitals, care homes and community centres through its award-winning Creative Learning programme.

Our Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev has made quite an impression since joining the SCO last year. Increasingly in demand with leading orchestras and opera houses the world over, in our 2020/21 Concert Season we look forward to seven programmes from him, demonstrating the extraordinary range and vision of this outstanding young musician.

Well-known for his passion and expertise in music from the Baroque and Classical eras, we will hear from Maxim as he perform Bach, Mozart and Schubert and demonstrates his love for great Russian music conducting major works by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev and - in the 50th anniversary of his death – Igor Stravinsky. 

He showcases the music of American contemporary giant, John Adams, with three classic works -The Chairman Dances, Shaker Loops and the Violin Concerto. There is also music from France in the shape of Poulenc’s Suite Française and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G and, joining forces once again with our magnificent SCO Chorus, he brings us one of the truly great works of art from the Romantic period – Brahms’ German Requiem.

John Adams features elsewhere in the season too, with his Saxophone Concerto performed by the brilliant Jess Gillam. Jess is just one of many remarkable soloists we will welcome throughout the year, including violinists Nicola Benedetti and Lisa Batiashvili (who will share a concert with her husband, oboist and conductor François Leleux), cellist Alban Gerhardt, percussionist Colin Currie, sopranos Carolyn Sampson and Claire Booth, tenor Allan Clayton and pianists Gabriela Montero - who will perform Clara Schumann’s Concerto - and the dynamic Frenchman David Fray, who concludes the season with Ravel.

Alongside them are some of our great conducting friends. Musicians who have developed a true rapport with players and audiences alike over many years - Joseph Swensen, Emmanuel Krivine, Andrew Manze, John StörgardsSir George Benjamin and, making her SCO debut, the outstanding Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro.

Finnish conductor and violinist Pekka Kuusisto also makes a welcome return. Pekka’s programmes are always fascinating, invariably surprising and often provocative. Never afraid to confront the most pressing issues of the day through his great artistry, over two concerts he joins forces with two of Scotland’s most exciting musicians – Karine Polwart and Pippa Murphy – to present music which addresses perhaps the most pressing issue of our time, climate change.

During the course of 23 weeks, you can hear one of the finest orchestras in the world making music with many of the greatest artists of the day, performing works from the UK, France, Germany, Austria, America, Russia, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Sweden and Finland - some of which may well be very familiar to you, some less so; some which has been unfairly neglected over the years and some that is brand new.

Find out more.

The SCO has strong relationships with many eminent guest conductors, including Joseph Swensen, Emmanuel Krivine , François Leleux, John Storgårds, Richard Egarr and Andrew Manze, and has recently appointed Maxim Emelyanychev as Principal Conductor from September 2019.

The Orchestra enjoys close affiliations with many leading composers and has commissioned more than 150 new works, including pieces by Sir James MacMillan, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sally Beamish, Karin Rehnqvist, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Hafliði Hallgrímsson and Lotta Wennäkoski.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra receives core funding from the Scottish Government as one of Scotland’s five National Performing Arts Companies.

What really drives us to perform, is seeing the expressions on people's faces and watching them light up when we are playing.
William Stafford, Clarinettist