Donald Runnicles, San Francisco Opera's outgoing music director, has been named chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, effective September, 2009. He will succeed Ilan Volkov, who joined the orchestra in 2003 at age 26, and now wants more time to devote to his young family. Runnicles was named music director in San Francisco in 1992. He will be succeeded here in 2009 by Nicola Luisotti.
Born in Scotland, Runnicles, 52, has not conducted in the United Kingdom for almost two decades while pursuing a career in Germany and the U.S.
He first conducted the regional BBC Orchestra only in 2001, at the Edinburgh International Festival. Scheduled to leave his San Francisco position at the end of the next season, although engaged to conduct Wagner's “Ring” cycle through 2011, Runnicles also serves as music director of the Grand Teton Music Festival, and principal guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony.