Schumann, Kurtag and Khachaturian at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016

Right now I’m busy rehearsing for this summer’s appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe. On Saturday 27th August, Alex and I will be joined by Feargus Heatherington playing violin and viola, for a fascinating musical journey.

Fairy Tales

Robert Schumann’s Fairy Tales for clarinet, viola and piano, stormy and tender, set the mood for György Kurtág’s deeply-felt Hommage à R.Sch: a work rich in allusions to the romantic composer’s fantastical alter egos Master Raro, Eusebius and Florestan. The programme concludes with Aram Khachaturian’s exuberant Trio for clarinet, violin and piano, based on Middle Eastern folk melodies.

St Andrew’s and St George’s West,
George Street
Venue 111

‘Alex South… hedonistic verve’ (Scotsman)

‘Feargus Hetherington’s thoughtful and intelligent interpretation… displayed his exquisitely virtuosic technique and shrewd musical artistry’ (Herald)

‘Pianist Oliver Rundell sparkled’ (Herald)

To buy tickets, click here to visit the Fringe Box Office website

New job at Opera North

I’m delighted to be joining Opera North as Chorus Master from August this year.

I’ve been working for Opera North from time to time as a freelancer for the last five or six years, and I’ve got to know the chorus a bit over this time. They are the most wonderful group of performers, totally committed to the work they do, and they’re truly a fundamentally important part of the company.

It’s going to be tough leaving Glasgow (I’ve lived here for fourteen years…) but I’m looking forward to new colleagues, fresh challenges and some great music-making.

Puccini – La rondine

Most of this term at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland we’ve been occupied with preparation for our production of Puccini’s opera ‘La rondine’ (the swallow), which I’m delighted to be conducting.

Set in Paris in a theatrical Mafioso underworld where everybody’s playing a role, the opera’s full of sensuous music and memorable melody.

Performances are on May 10, 12, 13 and 15 in the New Athenaeum Theatre in the RCS.

RCS Box office

Hindemith – Horn Sonata

To Gateshead this weekend, to play Paul Hindemith’s Sonata in F with horn player Chris Griffiths, who is a member of the Northern Sinfonia.

Sage piano

I met Chris in 2013 whn the Northen Sinfonia were playing in the pit for Opera North’s production of Ruddigore (I conducted two performances in Belfast).

We played the Hindemith sonata as a ‘Spotlight’ concert at the Sage after the Northen Sinfonia’s sell-out main evening concert (featuring Jennifer Pike playing Bruch’s violin concerto).

Sage outside

The Sage had a real buzz to it, with three concerts in the main halls, and the ground floor full of community music, youth bands, lessons and rehearsals, professionals, amateurs, old and young, performers and listeners all under the same roof, with a splendid cafe and views out over the Tyne.

Walton – Facade

In January I conducted two performances of ‘Facade’, music by William Walton and poetry by Edith Sitwell, with the Auricle Ensemble in the Gaiety Theatre, Ayr, and at the Linlithgow Academy.

Really fascinating to work with such unique text – and so refreshing to be dealing with spoken text, not sung. Joanna Tope and Crawford Logan were the reciters for our performances – what a privilege to work with such brilliant actors!

Opera North

Later this year, I’ll be returning to work at Opera North as Assistant Conductor on their gorgeous production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Benjamin Britten.

I’ll be conducting two performances – in Newcastle on 15th November and in Nottingham on 19th.

Grampian Youth Orchestra June 2013

I’m just back from four days with the Grampian Youth Orchestra.
Three days of intensive sectional and tutti rehearsals in the leafy surroundings of Aberdeen University, then a fantastic concert in the Music Hall in Aberdeen city centre, one of the finest concert halls in the country.


Dvorak – Slavonic Dances number 1, 2 and 8
Bruch – Violin Concerto (with Jessica Coleman as soloist)
Tchaikovsky – Symphony number 4

… just a fabulous performance …  (Bruch)

The performance was lively and full of zest. I was impressed by the way in which changes of pace were smoothly handled and the large orchestra poured out Dvořák’s delicious melodies and exciting rhythms with admirable generosity.  

Alan Cooper