Double Borders date for Stichill flautist

Lis Dooner and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra perform in Selkirk and Langholm this month
Lis Dooner and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra perform in Selkirk and Langholm this month

STICHILL flautist Lis Dooner is enjoying her 23rd year with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, an association which has taken her across the world.

She is performing with the SCO on their ninth tour of the south of Scotland, taking in the Buccleuch Centre at Langholm on Friday, May 27 and Selkirk’s Victoria Halls on Saturday, May 28.

And Lis is prepared for any distractions that could come her way, after the SCO became the first western orchestra to go on tour in India two years ago.

Lis said: “We have been involved in a number of big projects including one with Indian sarod player Amjad Ali Khan which saw the whole orchestra head over to India for a tour.

“He had devised a piece for him to play with the orchestra, while the performance was opened by Beethoven’s Symphony No 8, which was well received.

“It was quite different over there. The audience would answer mobile phones and chat away while we were playing. A lot of the concerts over there are very lengthy and can go on all night so they are used to walking out midway through or answering their phone.”

Lis joined the SCO in 1988, having returned to Scotland after living in London. She moved to Stichill in 2000 and works with the SCO’s education department, including a placement at Melrose Primary School.

Previously a member of the Scottish Borders Chamber Orchestra, which ceased musical activity last year, Lis is now part of Syrinx Flutes, an outshoot of SBCO.

She performed Cimarosa’s Concerto for two flutes and orchestra alongside SCO principal flute Alison Mitchell, during their performance in Selkirk in 2007.

Discussing her 23 years in the SCO, Lis said: “I have had a fantastic time with lots of opportunities to perform beside different players.

“We now have lots of different ages and nationalities involved.

“It has always been a good orchestra but some areas have improved. We work together more now, which means our teamwork has got better and as a result, so have our performances. It is like a football team, you cannot just throw people together and expect a high standard.

“We are also working with better conductors. We did used to work with some star conductors but generally the standard has improved. If you have respect for the conductor then morale is better among the orchestra.”

The SCO will be joined in Langholm and Selkirk by young American conductor Jonathan Schiffman, who makes his orchestra debut directing music by Haydn, Weber and Beethoven. The concert opens with Haydn’s Symphony No 70 in D, written to mark the start of construction of a new opera house on the Hungarian Esterháza estate in 1779. Charismatic principal clarinet Maximiliano Martín is soloist in Carl Maria von Weber’s Clarinet Concert No 1 in F minor, a piece considered a gem in the clarinet repertoire.

Maximiliano said: “It has many flashy passages, but is also lyrical in places. It is, in many ways, a small opera and was written for one of the best players of the time, H. Bärmann. I love the challenge of playing in front of the orchestra, and it is great vehicle for expression.”

The concert concludes with Beethoven’s grand third symphony, the Eroica.

Jonathan Schiffman has performed with some of Europe’s leading orchestras, including the Copenhagen Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de France, as well as working extensively in France, where he was music director with the Orchestre Lyrique de la Région Avignon-Provence until last year.

In addition to conducting, he is an accomplished cellist, pianist and composer.

Tickets for the Langholm show (7.30pm) are priced at £12, OAPs £10 or students/children/unemployed £5. More information is available from 013873 81196.

Prices and time are the same for the Selkirk performance. Tickets from Rogerson’s Newsagents or online at