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Music Director: Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Music Director: Royal Scottish National Orchestra 

Currently Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Peter Oundjian is celebrating a very successful first season as Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. As well as concerts in and around Scotland, his inaugural season included a tour to China and culminated in his debut at the BBC Proms, and a concert at the Edinburgh International Festival.

A regular guest conductor, recent and future engagements include concerts with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic orchestras, as well as the Orchestre de Paris, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. Last season, Oundjian and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, with whom he has a regular relationship, premiered a new piece by Krystof Maratka in Paris, which they then took to the Prague Spring Festival. Together they opened the festival with a televised performance of Smetana's Má vlast. Previous and upcoming US highlights include concerts with the Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Houston and Saint Louis symphony orchestras. Further afield, he has travelled to Australia to conduct the Sydney Symphony and he made his Japanese conducting debut with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in 2013. Regular soloist collaborations include Yefim Bronfman, James Ehnes, Leila Josefowicz, Emanuel Ax, Gil Shaham, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang and Renée Fleming.

The short biography displayed on this page is for information only. For concert programmes and promotional materials please use the downloadable versions.


"[Adams' Doctor Atomic Symphony/Harmonielehre/Short Ride…] is a hugely enjoyable release." (Martin Anderson, International Record Review, January 2014)

"Britten’s [War Requiem] was given just treatment in the Usher Hall on Friday night by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Peter Oundjian, their music director. He coaxed enunciated colour and texture from the RSNO, veering from wrath to pity, from overpowering magnitude to muted poignancy." (Sarah Urwin Jones, The Times, November 2013)

“...the orchestra turned to Tchaikovsky's Fifth – and what a performance. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra's brass were full of energy and Oundjian drove the work with a thrilling intensity.” (Elizabeth Davis, Classical Music, August 2013)

“Just seven months into his first season at the helm of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, music director Peter Oundjian is already making his mark…Not only in terms of repertoire [but also] in terms of sound – building on Deneve’s meticulous detail but turning it sideways into something hard-edged, bright and brassy... Rhythms were crisp and vibrant under Oundjian’s sprightly conducting. His silky strings made the opening and closing scenes beautifully tender... Oundjian kept a careful eye on the grand architecture, building inexorably to some impressive climaxes.” (David Kettle, The Telegraph, April 2013)  

“In both concertos, conductor Peter Oundjian gave malleable support, drawing exquisite sounds from his orchestra…which oozed colour and subtlety…[and was] crunchingly effective” (Ken Walton, The Scotsman, April 2013)

“As soon as the music in the first [American Festival concert] began, it seemed Oundjian had transformed his band almost overnight into a sleek, shiny Stateside outfit – one that was wonderfully brash and brazen in the gripping Candide Overture by Bernstein that opened the concert. The concert highlight was Oundjian’s searing vision of John Adams’ huge post-minimalist Harmonielehre.” (David Kettle, The Scotsman, February 2013)

“BRILLIANT: the only word for [Peter Oundjian’s American Festival]. His account [of Bernstein’s Candide Overture], with the RSNO in white-hot form, had such a scorching immediacy of impact in the precise articulation of it most flamboyant elements, it was like hearing Candide reinvented.” (Michael Tumelty, The Herald, February 2013)

“John Adams’ 40-minute Harmonielehre. It’s a thrusting, super-charged declaration – a hulking fusion of minimalism catch-sounds and romantic grandiosity – and Oundjian scaled its proportions just right.  He kept textures luminous rather than weighty, with propulsive drive and a fine balance of ardent winds and nervous, chattering strings.  He expanded the second movement with spacious contemplation and allowed the climax to really blaze. An absorbing performance.” (Kate Molleson, The Guardian, February 2013)

"Oundjian and the RSNO were both highly charged and subtly intimate in their responses. An auspicious start to their partnership." (The Times, October 2012)

"As for the performance, it was gripping from start to finish. When have we witnessed such visceral, machine-gun immediacy from the RSNO? When did we last hear the strings play with such compelling unanimity? Oundjian asserted his will on the symphony, from the aching emptiness of the opening, through the grotesque horror of the massacre, to the stillness of the lament, and finally the screaming belligerence of its overwhelming climax." (The Scotsman, October 2012)

"There were quantifiable signs of an immediate rapport with his new band-to-be. The most important of these was an all-pervading sense the entire orchestra warms to his musical personality, which is a mix of sensitive precision, solid musicality and outgoing warmth, sprinkled with a calculated measure of good old showmanship" (The Scotsman, April 2011)

"A magnificent performance on Saturday night of Brahms’s Third Symphony in which a near-capacity house heard a Brahms Three from an orchestra with a completely different accent and mindset, a rich, warm and dramatic sound quality, a sense of balance where no section, including the heavy artillery, was constrained, but none overwhelmed another, and an ensemble, superlatively led by James Clark, that appeared to demonstrate a refreshing coherence.....the night, with that cracking Brahms, belonged to Oundjian and his new band." (The Herald, April 2011)

"This was Oundjian's second appearance with the RSNO, and it shouldn't be his last. He offers that rare combination of technical precision and interpretational dynamism." (The Scotsman, March 2010)

"Peter Oundjian ranks among the most compelling of Denver's regular guest conductors. He lit up the second half with a thrilling version of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade." (Denver Post, March 2010)"Most beautiful of all was how Oundjian balanced the complex demands of this score without ever intruding on Britten's music. His sense of pacing was outstanding, allowing us to breathe briefly in the transitions from sacred to personal." (Toronto Star, November 2009)