Thomas Søndergård

Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is Music Director of Royal Scottish National Orchestra, following six seasons as Principal Guest Conductor. He served as Principal Conductor of BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBCNOW) from September 2012 – August 2018, and prior to this, as Principal Conductor and Musical Advisor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra for three seasons.

He has conducted many leading orchestras, including Chicago Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, RundfunkSinfonieorchester Berlin, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Bamberger Symphoniker; leading tours with Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and European Union Youth Orchestra; Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Brussels Philharmonic; Swedish Radio Symphony, Finnish Radio Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Houston Symphony and Seattle Symphony.


A number of planned engagements have fallen victim to the Coronavirus pandemic, including debuts for San Francisco Opera (The Handmaid’s Tale), The Cleveland Orchestra, Minnesota, St. Louis and his third Australian tour, planned to include Sydney, Melbourne and West Australian Symphony Orchestras.


Highlights of Thomas’ 2020/21 season with RSNO include leading its first digital season in works by Beethoven, Wagner and Mozart, among others; and an eight-concert tour of Japan with acclaimed soloists Makoto Ozone and Kyoko Takezawa, for the 38th edition of the prestigious Toshiba Grand Concert. He also returns to the London Philharmonic Orchestra for two subscription programmes, Orchestre National de France, Gothenburg Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Royal Danish Opera and Chicago Symphony. This season see Thomas make his debut with Zurich Opera (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny) and with NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover.


Highlights of recent seasons include debuts with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, and Orchestre National de France, and many re invitations, including Atlanta Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bayerische Staatsoper (Turandot), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet), Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Gurzenich-Orchester Köln, SWR Baden-Baden, Sydney Symphony, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Norwegian Opera. Recent highlights with RSNO include tours to China and the United States, premieres of new commissions and Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti.


A passionate supporter of the music of Carl Nielsen, his most recent programme with Swedish Radio Symphony (Symphony No. 5) received wide praise as “equal of the great pioneers of Nielsen interpretation… It’s hard to imagine a finer performance of this remarkable symphony” (Dagens Nyheter). As part of the 2015 anniversary celebrations of both Sibelius and Nielsen he conducted a wide variety of their works with many leading orchestras. In 2019 he participated in a special concert to celebrate Nielsen’s work with the Royal Danish Academy of Music Copenhagen.


Following his acclaimed debut for Royal Danish Opera (Kafka’s Trial), he has since returned regularly for a wide range of repertoire, including contemporary titles, Le nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere di Siviglia, la bohème, Cunning little vixen, Il viaggio a Reims, and will return for further opera and concert projects. He has also enjoyed considerable success conducting for Norwegian Opera and for Royal Swedish Opera, where productions of Tosca and Turandot (both with Nina Stemme) led to his Bayerische Staatsoper debut (Turandot with Stemme) in the main season and summer Opera Festival, followed by re-invitation for the Opera’s Akademiekonzert series. He has conducted two productions for Deutsche Oper Berlin, making his debut with the World premiere of Scartazzini’s Edward II.


His discography covers a broad range of contemporary and mainstream repertoire, including Vilde Frang’s celebrated debut recording (WDR Köln for EMI); Poul Ruders (Århus Symphony, Norwegian Radio, Royal Danish Opera (Kafka’s Trial) for Da Capo and Bridge Records); Lutoslawski and Dutilleux concertos with ‘cellist Johannes Moser and Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin for Pentatone; Sibelius symphonies and tone poems (BBC NOW for Linn Records); Prokofiev and Richard Strauss (RSNO for Linn Records).


In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Queen Ingrid Foundation Prize for services to Music in Denmark, and in autumn 2019 was awarded the Wilhelm Hansen Honorary Award.


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