BBC SSO Chief Conductor Donald Runnicles 60th Birthday Concert

BBC SSO Usher Hall. Donald Runnicles 60th birthday concert.

Edinburgh’s huge and impressive Usher Hall was the venue for a concert celebrating the 60th birthday of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra‘s chief conductor Donald Runnicles. It was Sunday afternoon 16th November. The program had two items: Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante (for Violin and Viola) and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The concert was a sell out and I was there to capture the event. The chance to hear the orchestra in a vast hall with a chorus of over a hundred was not to be missed.

BBC SSO Usher Hall. Donald Runnicles 60th birthday concert.

The brief from the BBC’s marketing department was for curtain call shots only, so that simplified things. I would be using the Canon 24-105mm lens for the full stage width and the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 for tighter shots of conductor and soloists. The only problem is where to position myself to get the best view and be close enough to the stage to get something interesting. I was also restricted by where in the hall I would be allowed to photograph from. The two possible positions were the centre of the circle and camera right of the stalls. I knew from experience that I probably would only have time to be in one position as the curtain calls are pretty brief. I was assured that Donald would be bowing to the audience and thanking the orchestra and soloists longer than usual, so I would have ample time to cover the two positions. However I wasn’t convinced and thankfully stuck to the circle. The curtain calls were over in only 5 minutes.

BBC SSO Usher Hall. Donald Runnicles 60th birthday concert.

The shots are predictable but hopefully show the scale of the stage with the orchestra, soloists and choir.