The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is a key contributor to BBC Scotland’s broadcasting and cultural role. Formed in 1935 as a modest studio band of only 35 players, it was Scotland’s first full-time professional orchestra. Now with 76 staff players and a management and production team of 13, the last twenty years has seen the gradual emergence of the BBC SSO away from the studio as a fully fledged ‘public’ orchestra, consolidating its position as one of the cornerstones of Scottish musical life.Housed in the superbly rebuilt Glasgow City Halls since 2006, the BBC SSO has established strong links with local communities and organisations through an innovative learning programme and performs to large and enthusiastic audiences in venues across Scotland.
Scotland’s leading champion of new music, few other British orchestras play such a wide repertoire with such a powerful commitment to the challenging and the unfamiliar. It is the only Scottish orchestra to win the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for best orchestra and its commercial recordings have received a number of prizes, including four Gramophone Awards. Broadcasting is still the orchestra’s primary duty, and virtually all of its performances are heard on the BBC’s radio and television services.
Under the artistic leadership of its Chief Conductor, the world renowned Scot Donald Runnicles, Principal Guest Conductor Ilan Volkov, Associate Guest Conductor Andrew Manze and Artist-in-Association Matthias Pintscher, the BBC SSO is an annual fixture at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival and appears as at major festivals throughout the world.