"Wilson’s Symphony No 3 is an absorbing and rigorous work in comparison and is arrestingly played by Macdonald’s RSNO"
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone
"Rory Macdonald draws thrilling, punchy playing from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra"
Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk
" The sound is rich, full and present, while the orchestral performances under Rory Macdonald are dramatically charged, colourful, and assured"
Rory Macdonald stands out as one of the most engaging British conductors of his generation, leading stylish performances of a notably wide range of operatic and symphonic repertoire.
In great demand as operatic conductor, he has conducted new productions for the Royal Opera House, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and Royal Danish Opera amongst others. Notable highlights have included Peter Grimes (Brisbane Festival), Albert Herring (Glyndebourne), The Turn of the Screw (Vienna Konzerthaus), The Rape of Lucretia (Houston Grand Opera), Carmen (Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company), Così fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro (Oper Frankfurt), Fra Diavolo (Opera di Roma), A Village Romeo and Juliet (Wexford Festival) and The Cunning Little Vixen (Bergen National Opera).
Engagements this season and beyond include returns to Oper Frankfurt for Le nozze di Figaro and to the Opera Theater of Saint Louis for The Magic Flute, as well as his debut for the Opéra de Tours for Thomas Adès’s Powder Her Face, and a performance with the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra.
On the concert podium highlights include the première performances of works by notable composers including Sir James Macmillan, Carl Vine, Sally Beamish and Geoffrey Gordon, as well as guest engagements with such orchestras as the Royal Concertgebouw, Oslo Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and BBC Scottish Symphony amongst many others.
Rory’s discography includes Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with Nicola Benedetti (Decca), Eric Chisholm's Piano Concertos with Danny Driver (Hyperion), The Beauty Stone by Arthur Sullivan (Chandos) and Thomas Wilson’s Third and Fourth Symphonies with the RSNO which was released in 2019 on Linn Records to critical acclaim.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
CD: Thomas Wilson: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Linn CKD643 (November 2020)
No 2 is in three movements; it is music of exalted rhetoric, edgy intensity and the solidest craftsmanship. No 5, his last completed work, is a superb single span that embraces a luminous excursion for strings. Splendid, devoted performances.
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times
Conductor Rory Macdonald elicits a performance of rhythmic vigour and emotional heft. …Wilson’s music has been neglected since his death. Here’s the reason that should change.
Ken Walton, The Scotsman
…both receive committed performances from Rory Macdonald’s orchestral force
BBC Music Magazine
The powering inevitability of a substantial opening movement not without its tender cameos; the mutable agitation of the central movement; the pugnacious Walton-inspired urgency of the finale: all are addressed with clear-minded singularity by Macdonald, begging the question, why is this work not performed more often?
Rory MacDonald and the excellent Scottish forces give a precise performance, engaged and beautifully stripped down, adorning the work in alternately dark and dreamy colours.
…throughout MacDonald keeps up the tension so that the whole movement unfolds in gripping form without any sense of sag. The performances from Rory MacDonald and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra are terrific, in both works they capture the concentrated element of Wilson's writing, but also bring out the many incidental beauties of his instrumental writing and ear for orchestral colour.
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill*****
Rory Macdonald and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra commit themselves wholeheartedly, and do these often beautiful works full justice. The recording and production are excellent on all counts.
Hubert Culot, MusicWeb International
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra have once again been fastidiously prepared and (unsurprisingly for a Linn disc) sound magnificent under Rory Macdonald.
Richard Hanlon, MusicWeb International
Macdonald and the RSNO approach the music with confidence and vigor
Thomas Wilson Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 recording, Linn CKD 616
Royal Scottish National Orchestra / February 2019
Wilson’s Symphony No 3 is an absorbing and rigorous work in comparison and is arrestingly played by Macdonald’s RSNO.
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone
The sound is rich, full and present, while the orchestral performances under Rory Macdonald are dramatically charged, colourful, and assured...It is a winning disc in every way.
Rory Macdonald draws thrilling, punchy playing from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra...Fascinating, and a startling introduction to a very individual voice.
Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk
Le nozze di Figaro
Gothenburg Opera / September 2019
The Gothenburg Opera's choir and orchestra under the direction of Rory Macdonald sound just as I want that Mozart should be interpreted when it is at its best.
Thorvald Pellby Petterson, Swedish Radio P4 Sjuhärad
Mozart Requiem, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Adelaide Festival / February 2020
The ASO (conductor Rory Macdonald and concertmaster Natsuko Yoshimoto) give sterling support interpreting the augmented Requiem.
Steve Evans, InDaily
…the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of Rory Macdonald) make a sensitive and nuanced landscape of sound for them to sing in.
Robert Reid, Witness