President & CEO, Leslie Jackson Chihuly Chair
Dr. Krishna Thiagarajan, DMA, was appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) in August 2015. Thiagarajan joined at a pivotal moment in the Orchestra’s 125-year history, overseeing the final stages of the company’s move from Henry Wood Hall — its home since 1979 — to the purpose-built, state-of-the-art rehearsal, recording and education facilities of the RSNO Centre in the heart of Glasgow, Scotland’s UNESCO City of Music.
Under his leadership, the RSNO has increased the number of its performances, both at home and abroad; enjoyed the highest average audience figures for a generation; enjoyed year-over-year growth in earned and contributed income; and developed its international reputation, notably through a discography which has attracted global recognition. The RSNO has also become one of the busiest recording ensembles in Europe, producing critically acclaimed releases on the Sony, Chandos, Linn and Dutton labels. Also under Thiagarajan’s leadership, the RSNO has completed successful tours of the U.S., Spain and central Europe, and is now preparing for its second China tour later this year.
Thiagarajan oversaw two new appointments to the RSNO artistic team last year. In October 2018 Thomas Søndergård will take over as Music Director, having been the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor since 2012, and Elim Chan also begins her tenure as Principal Guest Conductor this fall.
The Orchestra’s CD, Astar, which was distributed by Scotland’s Registry Office to every child born in Scotland (approximately 85,000), was developed into an app last year in collaboration with the University of Abertay Dundee and distributed as part of the Scottish Government’s Baby Boxes scheme, an element of RSNO Music for Life, an initiative launched in 2016 which provides access to high-quality music-making experiences for all, regardless of age or ability.
Thiagarajan joined the RSNO from the New York-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, where he served as Executive Director since January 2013. While there he was responsible for increasing audiences, including sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall; commissioning new work; touring the Orchestra to Japan, Colombia and throughout Europe; ensuring financial stabilization; and overseeing the Orchestra’s first self-produced recording.
Previously Thiagarajan served as President of Symphony in C — one of three professional training orchestras in the United States — and was Senior Director of Artistic Operations for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.
Born in Karlsruhe, Germany, Thiagarajan trained as a pianist and performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. He graduated from Indiana University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, where he studied with Leonard Hokanson and taught as an associate instructor of piano. He later received his doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park where he studied with pianists Santiago Rodriguez and André Watts.