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Donald Runnicles returns to Scotland:  BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra appoints new Chief Conductor (BK)

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra  has announced that the pre-eminent  Scottish conductor, Donald Runnicles will be its new Chief Conductor from September 2009. Mr Runnicles, whose initial three-year contract includes a minimum of eight weeks with the Orchestra, as well as recording and touring, replaces Ilan Volkov who steps down at the end of the 2008-2009 season. Mr. Runnicles' appointment is a major coup for the Orchestra.

Donald Runnicles first appeared with the BBC SSO at the 2001 Edinburgh Festival where he conducted Berlioz' Les Troyens to great critical acclaim. Though he has not conducted regularly in the UK for eighteen years, Mr Runnicles led the BBC SSO again at Edinburgh in 2003 in Lohengrin and later with a concert staging of Elektra at the Proms. Further appearances at Edinburgh with the Orchestra  in 2005 were followed by a Mahler Symphony No 3 there in 2006. His next concerts will be in Glasgow in April 2008 when the Orchestra presents Das Lied von der Erde and James MacMillan's 3rd Symphony 'Silence.' Mr. Runnicles' return to symphonic music and his native land - he was born in Edinburgh - reaffirms his commitment to both core repertory and to new music. Currently Mr Runnicles is Music Director and Principal Conductor of San Francisco Opera, posts which he has held since 1992. Mr Runnicles was awarded the OBE in 2004.


Bill Kenny