Live music has always played a vital role in the performances of Scottish Ballet, and in its previous incarnations as Western Theatre Ballet and Scottish Theatre Ballet.

Initially, as resources and venues allowed, small ensembles were employed, growing over the years through small orchestras with specifically commissioned re-orchestrations (Humphrey Searle's arrangement of Giselle for 16 players and Leonard Salzedo's small orchestra version of The Nutcracker) to the present position where the composer’s wishes are, as closely as the physical conditions of the theatres to which the Company tours will allow, fulfilled.

The Scottish Ballet Orchestra is a part-time, freelance orchestra of up to 70 musicians working for about 20 weeks of the year, usually broken up into three touring seasons. The number and composition of the orchestra depends on the repertoire and the size of the theatres to be visited. The Orchestra is based in Glasgow.

Music directors have included Gerald Krug, Terence Kern, Alan Morgan, Bramwell Tovey, Guy Hamilton and Alan Barker.

The Company has commissioned many scores of which the Scottish Ballet Orchestra has given the first performance:

  • Sun into Darkness (Malcolm Williamson 1966)
  • Beauty and the Beast (Thea Musgrave 1969)
  • The Tales of Hoffmann (Offenbach arr John Lanchbery 1972)
  • Mary, Queen of Scots (John McCabe 1976)
  • Cinderella (Rossini arr Bramwell Tovey 1979)
  • Chéri (David Earl 1980)
  • Carmen (Bizet arr Dominic Muldowney 1985)
  • Peter Pan (Eddie McGuire 1988)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn arr Barrington Pheloung 1993)
  • Aladdin (Carl Davis 2000)
  • The Snowman 2 act version (Howard Blake 2001)
  • Alice (Robert Moran 2011)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (2012)

The Scottish Ballet Orchestra

Chief Conductor
Jean-Claude Picard

First Violin

Justine Watts - Leader
Vacant - Associate Leader
Stewart Webster - Principal
Emily Nenniger – Sub-Principal
Anne Macdonald - Rank & File
Gillian Risi
Kirstin Drew
Fiona Murdoch

Second Violin
Katrina Lee - Principal
Vacant- Sub-Principal
Jackie Norrie - Rank & File
Alan Mason

Ian Anderson - Principal
George Cuthbertson - Sub-Principal
Vacant  - Rank & File

Mark Bailey - Principal
Susan Dance - Sub-Principal
John Davidson - Rank & File
Rosie Townhill

Double Basses
Rick Standley - Principal
Chris Sergeant - Sub-Principal
Jenny Warren

Vacant - Principal
Fiona Chisholm - Sub-Principal

Ruth Contractor - Principal
Mary James - Sub-Principal

Robert Fairley - Principal
Janet Laird - Sub-Principal

Grant MacKay - Principal
Alex Walker - Sub-Principal

Vacant - Principal
Dan Beer - Sub-Principal
Vacant - Principal
Christine Smith - Sub-Principal

Alexander McGrattan - Principal
Vacant - Sub-Principal

Nigel Cox - Principal
Paul Stone - Sub-Principal
Vacant - Principal

Jonathan Gawn - Principal

Meredith McCracken - Principal

Brian Prentice - Principal

Peter Evans - Principal

Martin Willis - Principal
Owen Williams - Sub-Principal