BBC dumps chief conductor

BBC dumps chief conductor


norman lebrecht

February 08, 2022

The BBC has appointed Ryan Wigglesworth as Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, effective from September.

Wiggleworth, 42, is a Yorshire-born musician who is presently Composer in Residence at English National Opera. This will be his first chief conductor position.

Absent from the BBC press release is any mention – until the very bottom line – of the man he is replacing. The outgoing chief is the Danish maestro Thomas Dausgaard, who quit his other job in Seattle recently by email amid massive furore.

Dausgaard has been discarded in Scotland after one contract with two extensions, a term of six years. He has not been seen in Scotland for 21 months, due to Covid and other considerations.

Conductors at the BBC are chosen by executives, after the musicians are informally sounded out. The players do not get to vote.

They (and we) will wish Dausgaard well in the future.


  • LolaViola says:

    Having worked with Dausgard I appreciate his empathy and Menschlichkeit. I wish him well.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Dausgaard has a reputation for being dour and argumentative. He should take lessons in charm from MTT

  • msc says:

    I greatly respect Dausgaard as a conductor (based on recordings and broadcasts), but know nothing about his personal life. All this suggests that he is experiencing some sort of trouble and I wish him well.

  • Patron says:

    I guess he didn’t feel safe in Scotland either?

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    Now, what am I reading here? A british orchestra actually appointing a british conductor as its Chief? This may start a trend, hopefully. Shame to see Father Ted go, tho. I always think Dausgaard looks like him. Ryan will need a good raincoat, tho.

  • God,the BBC has actually got something right.

  • fflambeau says:

    This article makes it sound like he has never conducted before which is not correct. TheHub reports: “As a composer-conductor, Wigglesworth has led and written for some of the UK’s top orchestras. He was previously principal guest conductor of the Hallé Orchestra and composer-in-residence at the English National Opera. He has performed with the orchestra several times before…. Together, they undertook a series of recording sessions last year, including a live performance of Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 at City Halls, the orchestra’s first public appearance with an audience since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

    Plus he’s not afraid in Scotland.