Following on from last term’s hugely successful performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, The University of St Andrews Orchestra will next Wednesday headline the classical music programme for the On the Rocks festival with a very special concert. The concert contains two premieres and a great Russian masterpiece that will make for an exciting evening of music. Start next Wednesday night with some top class culture and a glass of Perthshire wine from Cairn o’ Mohr, who will be running a fully licensed (and very reasonably priced) bar all evening!

We welcome world renowned saxophonist Richard Ingham to play John William’s ‘Escapades for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra’ the Oscar nominated score from the film Catch me if you Can. This will be a Scottish Premiere of a jazzy score that is exciting and filled with exceptionally clever writing from the film score master. The second half will be given over to Rimsky-Korskov’s most popular orchestral work, Scheherazade. The piece, based on Arabian Nights, contains dazzling Russian romantic splendor throughout combined with a colorful orchestration typical of Russian music of the period.

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The concert will also mark the launch of welsh composer Mark David Boden’s three year period as ‘Composer in Residence’ with the group. The project aims to give this very promising young composer the chance to have his work played by the orchestra for the next three years and is the first time a student orchestra in the UK has appointed a professional composer in residence. Mark was appointed after winning the University’s 600th anniversary composition competition last year with ‘Six Degrees’, a piece which went on to be shortlisted for the BBC NOW young composers scheme and aired on Radio 3. Mark is also currently composing for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hebrides Ensemble, so we’re excited to have established such a close partnership with him.

Mark begins his three year posting on Wednesday with ‘Fanfaronade’ a new piece composed specially for the orchestra. Artistic Director of the orchestra, Chris Swaffer said of the piece ‘It is not only specially commissioned for the orchestra, it has also been written specifically for its current players.’ Boden has given each section a character and highlights them in turn, making Fanfaronades almost a mini concerto for orchestra.

Its harmony and use of woodwind gives it an almost Oriental sound, akin to the sound world of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. (It also has some kinship with the John Williams’ Escapades, sharing the low whispering mystery in timpani and lower string pizzicato.)

Professor Richardson has also supported the project, saying ‘I am delighted to support the launch of an innovative artistic partnership between the University of St Andrews Symphony Orchestra and the gifted composer Mark Boden. Mark’s thought-provoking, elegant compositions will both challenge and inspire our talented young musicians; I am looking forward to this exciting collaborative venture.’

Boden’s first commission, Fanfaronade, is generously supported by the Kate Kennedy Club and the Rotary Club of St Andrews.

If you enjoyed last terms concert, we’re confident you will also enjoy this. If you’ve never been to see the orchestra before there has never been a better opportunity. The chance to hear a world premiere, to enjoy a world class soloist and to indulge in the romantic genius of Korsakov make it clear that this is a concert not to be missed. Tickets are just £5 for students and are available from here.