The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will make music for audiences in person and online as they return to live orchestral music-making in Scotland this autumn. The full Orchestra will tour to venues across Scotland – in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and St Andrews whilst also launching its most ambitious community project to date in the Craigmillar area of its home city.

Gavin Reid, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra: “After such a difficult and uncertain time for everyone, we’re excited to get back to performing live in venues across the country. We’re proud of the work we’ve been able to share digitally during the pandemic – and we’ll be continuing that work in the coming season – but of course, live music-making remains at the very core of what we do, and we can’t wait to experience the thrill of live performance with audiences again.”

The SCO celebrates the much longed-for return of live music-making in Scotland with 27 performances at venues including the Usher Hall and Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh, City Halls in Glasgow, Perth Concert Hall, Aberdeen Music Hall and Holy Trinity Church in St Andrews from September to December 2021, making it possible for audiences across the country once again to enjoy and share in the collective experience of live orchestral music.

Principal Conductor Maxim Emelyanychev launches the season with Mendelssohn’s symphonic tribute to Scotland, his Symphony No 3 ‘Scottish’, and is joined by Russian pianist Lukas Geniušas for Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto (30 September – 2 October). In October he conducts his own arrangement of Farkas’ Five Ancient Hungarian Dances alongside the music of Leclair, Locatelli, Vivaldi and Poulenc with Russian-born violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky as soloist (7 – 8 October) before returning in December to showcase the talents of the SCO’s string and wind players in Mozart’s ‘Gran Partita’ and John Adams’ Shaker Loops. Emelyanychev is himself soloist – alongside the SCO’s Principal Flute André Cebrián and Leader Stephanie Gonley – in Bach’s Fifth Brandenburg Concerto (2 – 3 December). The SCO’s renowned Wind Soloists will also perform side-by-side with students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in November to give the UK premiere of oboist, composer and arranger Nigel Shore’s reimagining of Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier for large wind ensemble (18 – 21 November).

Maxim Emelyanychev and Scottish Chamber Orchestra ©SCO

Austrian conductor and violinist Thomas Zehetmair leads the SCO in a programme that includes Mendelssohn, Haydn, and the UK premiere of Hungarian Peter Eötvös’ magical evocation of the Northern Lights, Aurora, performed by the SCO’s own Principal Double Bass Nikita Naumov (14 – 15 October), whilst Mark Wigglesworth performs Mozart and Shostakovich’s Fourteenth Symphony alongside soprano Elizabeth Atherton and bass Peter Rose (3 – 5 November).

The Orchestra welcomes back three long-time SCO collaborators: Sir James MacMillan, Joseph Swensen and Peter Whelan. MacMillan returns to conduct Mahler, Wagner, Ives and the world premiere of a new work Death In A Nutshell by one of Scotland’s most exciting young composers, Ayrshire-born Jay Capperauld, inspired by the “godmother of forensic science”, Frances Glessner Lee (11 – 12 November). SCO Conductor Emeritus Joseph Swensen brings a richly coloured programme of music from the hothouse of Vienna at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries including Mahler’s Blumine, Benjamin Britten’s chamber reimagining of the second movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony and Alban Berg’s Kammerkonzert with German violinist Kolja Blacher and Israeli pianist Roman Rabinovich (25 – 26 November). Masterpieces from the Classical era will be directed from the fortepiano by early music expert (and former SCO Principal Bassoon) Peter Whelan including CPE Bach’s Symphony in F, Haydn’s Symphony No 102 in B flat major and two contrasting Mozart concert arias performed by renowned British soprano Anna Dennis (28 – 29 October).

Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro makes her SCO debut with a magical weaving of movements from Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with soprano Ana Quintans and baritone Julien van Mellaerts, creating a glittering storybook of musical fantasy (9 – 11 December) whilst Scotland’s best-loved violinist Nicola Benedetti brings the autumn season to a close with Mozart’s First Violin Concerto (15 – 17 December).

Full SCO live performance listings are available at