Founded in 1935 by Scottish composer and conductor Ian Whyte, the BBC SSO’s repertoire ranges from highly complex modern scores to the classics, from music by Scottish composers to film and TV scores. Its concert performances and recordings are broadcast exclusively on BBC Radio and television. Its innovative programmes and acclaimed recordings have made it the recipient of numerous awards, including two Gramophone Awards (including NMC D141) and a Grammy nomination. The Royal Philharmonic Society presented the BBC SSO with its award for Best Orchestra in 2002, and its Chief Conductor, Ilan Volkov with the prize for Best Young Artist in 2004.
The BBC SSO is especially active in commissioning and promoting new music, having worked with many leading composers over the years from Britten and Shostakovich to Kurtág and Tan Dun: it is especially proud of its support for Scottish composers – including Stuart MacRae, whose music the orchestra has recorded to great acclaim for NMC (on NMC D115).
The BBC SSO regularly tours Europe, and in recent years has visited China, the USA and South America. It appears annually at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival, and is in demand at festivals including Cheltenham, Huddersfield and St. Magnus in Orkney. The orchestra takes live music to towns and cities across Scotland every season, and is increasingly involved in the community, with its learning programme, dedicated to bringing the inspiration of great music to people of all ages and backgrounds.