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theartsdesk Q&A: Donald Runnicles | reviews, news & interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Donald Runnicles

theartsdesk Q&A: Donald Runnicles

Scotland's greatest conductor explains why he's returned home

Conductor Donald Runnicles: 'I approach each and every concert with intensity, curiosity, also with a joy of knowing that it is unique'Hardy Wilson
Who's the greatest living British exponent of the late Romantic repertoire? Many would say Edinburgh-born conductor Donald Runnicles (b. 1954). Runnicles has spent the last 30 years quietly forging a formidable name for himself abroad, first, as a repetiteur in Mannheim, then as an assistant to Sir Georg Solti at Bayreuth, as guest conductor at the Vienna State Opera and, for the past two decades, musical director of San Francisco Opera. In 2007 the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra announced that Runnicles would return home to become their new chief conductor. This week he performs Strauss, Wagner and Mahler in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. He tells me how he came to work with Solti, how opera moulded his style and how a few remarks about how he was considering leaving America if Bush won another election got him into serious hot waters.
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