The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) is to perform in Shetland for the first time as part of a nationwide series of musical events being organised as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
On 3rd and 4th March next year, the RSNO will put on concerts in Fair Isle, Skerries, Foula and Unst as well as at community halls and care homes elsewhere in the isles and at Clickimin and Mareel.
The Cultural Olympiad will showcase the best of Britain’s culture and arts in the run up to the 2012 Olympics.
The events in Shetland will form part of the BBC’s Music Nation, which includes performances by orchestras, choirs and professional and amateur groups as well as a series of workshops and tutorials at venues around the country, all aimed at involving as many people as possible. While it is based around classical music, it also takes in jazz, folk and world music.
It is the first time in the RSNO’s 120-year history that it will have played in Shetland.
Director of Shetland Arts Gwilym Gibbons said: “This is a hugely ambitious and exciting project and one that has been a long term ambition of Shetland Arts and the RSNO.
“It was always about picking the right time and for us the combination of this visit taking place as part of Music Nation, in the Year of Creative Scotland and in the opening season of Mareel, Shetland’s new £12.2m waterfront music, cinema and creative industries centre makes this absolutely the right time.
“I am delighted that Shetland Arts and RSNO are working in partnership to bring their orchestra to Shetland. It is very rare for a full symphony orchestra to commit to overcoming the enormous logistical challenge of getting to an island location like ours, let alone head out to our own outer isles of Fair Isle, Outer Skerries, Foula and Unst.
“The RSNO’s visit as part of Music Nation will coincide with the opening season of Mareel. The week of events will include collaborations and performances in venues including village halls, care homes, schools, Mareel and a full orchestral performance in the Clickimin Leisure Centre.
“Drawing upon our rich cultural heritage and our unique locations the week will bring together world class musicians from Shetland and the RSNO to develop and perform an original work.”