The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1935 by composer and conductor Ian Whyte. At the time, it was the first full-time orchestral ensemble in Scotland; it has now become one of five full-time BBC orchestras and one of Britain's leading orchestras.
At its founding, it was a small ensemble principally used for broadcasting, but Whyte struggled to establish it as a truly Scottish ensemble dedicated to promoting music by Scottish composers. The orchestra performs at Glasgow's City Hall under its chief conductor, Donald Runnicles, and receives critical acclaim for its interpretations of contemporary works. It also appears in numerous Scottish cities, large and small, including, Aberdeen, Perth, Inverness, Stirling, and Ayr. The orchestra remains committed to its mission as a broadcasting orchestra, with nearly all of its performances broadcast on the BBC and Radio Scotland. The orchestra has won two Gramophone Awards in the contemporary music category. For Hyperion, the group has released several world-premiere recordings of Scottish romantic music, and for Bis it has embarked on a cycle of the complete symphonies of Nielsen. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performs each year at the BBC Proms in London, as well as at the festivals of Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Huddersfield, and Bath. The orchestra has toured Britain, Europe, the United States, and China.