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Poll position for podium apprentices - two passengers win orchestra approval for first-time conducting a Glasgow Airport

Glasgow Airport was brought to life with the sound of music from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) this morning (Thursday 31 August) as the 50-strong ensemble and Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson entertained passengers passing through Scotland’s busy transport hub.


The Orchestra performed two 40-minute concerts and during each five lucky passengers were invited to take to the podium for the first time. The first-time conductors were marked for their natural ability and precise direction by four members of the Orchestra’s woodwind section.

Earlier in the week Glasgow Airport had run an online poll to determine which piece of music airport users would like to conduct, with the traditional Scottish Eightsome Reels – an international tour encore favourite with the RSNO – coming top.



Unsurprisingly, the apprentice conductors hailed from different international locations, including a young brother and sister from Toronto competing against each other, a young man from Minneapolis and another from Holland. A further participant was embarking on a world-wide trip, attempting to visit every accessible country, with Scotland his first port-of-call. But it was Julian from Cambridge – who was returning home - and Callum from Scotland who was going on holiday - who won the panel’s hearts and who each made off with a £100 gift voucher prize, donated by Glasgow Airport.

RSNO Assistant Conductor Holly Mathieson: “Performing at the airport was an absolutely joyful experience. Not many expect to be confronted by a full-size professional orchestra after they check in, and to see the look on passengers’ faces was very gratifying. It was also a pleasure to welcome our novice maestri to the podium to give their interpretation of a traditional Scottish classic. We had some fantastic -  and very brave -  people taking part, who were in the running for some very generous prizes from Glasgow Airport. I also loved hearing everyone's travel stories and knowing we were helping to create a once in a lifetime start to some people's journeys. Huge congratulations to all who gave it a go and thanks to Glasgow Airport for inviting us to close their Best of Scotland campaign.”

Scotland’s other national ensemble, the Scotland Football Team, was travelling through the airport on its way to Lithuania for the Group F World Cup qualifier on Friday, and the people’s choice of music, Eightsome Reels, appeared to be an appropriate send-off.

Steven Marshall, Head of Airline Marketing and Development at Glasgow Airport: “The Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s annual performance is one of the highlights of the year for both the terminal team and of course our passengers.

“A performance from the country’s national orchestra is the perfect way to bring to a close what has been a fantastic Best of Scotland campaign.”  

For more information on RSNO concerts and events, visit