The British-Canadian conductor, and former first violinist of the Tokyo Quartet, Peter Oundjian, takes over the helm of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the start of the 2012-13 season. Born in Toronto and raised in the UK, Oundjian studied first at the Royal College of Music with Manoug Parikian and then at New York’s Juilliard School where he worked with Ivan Galamian, Itzhak Perlman and Dorothy DeLay. He led the Tokyo Quartet for 14 years.
Oundjian is currently music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (a post he will retain alongside his new Scottish role). He is widely credited with turning around the fortunes of the Toronto SO, also launching Toronto's hugely successful Mozart Festival, as well as the New Creations Festival. He has also been principal guest conductor and artistic advisor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Caramoor Festival.
Initially his four-year contract will be for six weeks per season, rising to seven in his second year and eight in the third. He will also be recording with the RSNO. His next concerts with the orchestra, which he first conducted in 2002, take place on April 14 (Dundee), 15 (Edinburgh) and 16 (Glasgow).
Simon Woods, chief executive of the RSNO, commented: “This is a tremendous appointment. I have known and admired Peter for over a decade, and I am in no doubt that he will bring very special qualities to the RSNO. He is a musician of enormous integrity whose performances are richly informed by his many years as a chamber musician. His love of making music together with others is something that is apparent in everything he touches, and the results are always deeply musical, communicative and incredibly involving. There are great times ahead for the RSNO and its audiences.” To which Peter Oundjian replied: “It is a great honour to have been invited to become the next music director of such a wonderful orchestra whose history is so rich and vital. I look forward enormously to this opportunity to build upon the magnificent tradition that my predecessors have created, and to being part of Scotland's vibrant cultural life.”