Scottish Opera's General Director Alex Reedijk has been awarded an OBE in the 2024 New Year Honours

We are thrilled that our General Director, Alex Reedijk, has been awarded an OBE in the 2024 New Year Honours, for Services to the Performing Arts in Scotland.

Alex has been in this role since 2006 (the longest-serving General Director in our history), having previously enjoyed an international career with festivals and opera companies in New Zealand, Ireland, Portugal, London and Scotland.

Scottish Opera's General Director Alex Reedijk

During his time with us, Alex has ensured everyone in Scotland is able to access opera by touring our productions, both large and smaller scale, the length and breadth of the country, bringing live opera to local venues as well as bigger city-based theatres. He has also maintained our international reputation in Education and Outreach, helping us to remain a trailblazer in community arts engagement with programmes including our renowned Primary Schools Tour which, during Alex’s tenure has so far reached over 250,000 children in the arts across all 32 Scottish local authority areas. Alex has also overseen an array of new initiatives for young people, and for people living with dementia, including the world’s first Dementia Friendly opera performances in 2016.

During COVID, we continued to attract new audiences with our digital work, with 250,000 UK viewers seeing the first broadcast of our film of The Gondoliers, which will be available to view worldwide in May next year2024 also brings our first operatic animation, thanks to Alex’s commitment to widening access and reimagining the ways audiences can experience opera.

Alex’s focus on developing new talent is evident with the 2009 establishment of our acclaimed Emerging Artist programme. He has also developed strong relationships with opera directors, designers, singers, and conductors of international standing, including with acclaimed baritone and director, Sir Thomas Allen, and the world-renowned director Sir David McVicar who recently directed Puccini’s Il trittico which was nominated for an International Opera Award.

Whilst recognising the importance of presenting popular titles, Alex is also willing to be adventurous with new compositions. This included the commissioning of the 15-minute chamber operas, Operas Made in Scotland, by composers including Craig Armstrong OBE and Stuart MacRae and librettists Sir Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith CBE and Louise Welsh. These captured the public’s imagination and encouraged belief and growth in the sector, and the commissioning of new opera remains at the heart of our annual programme. 

Outside of his work with Scottish Opera, Alex is Chair of The Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock, and spent 10 years as a Trustee and Vice Chairman of Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. Internationally, Alex has supported The Irish Arts Council, Creative New Zealand,  Creative Scotland, Opera Europa and The Royal Danish Opera with peer assessments, organisational reviews and board appointments.

Alex Reedijk said: ‘I have been so lucky to have been part of the rich cultural life in Scotland over the past 35 years, principally with Scottish Opera as its General Director since 2006 but also as part of the team at Assembly Theatre in the Edinburgh Festival, Mayfest, and more recently with the Citizens Theatre and the Beacon Arts Centre. Success in any field of endeavour but especially the arts require three key ingredients: very hard graft, passion and being able to work with amazing people who are all equally determined, talented and creative every day! Many thanks to you all.’

Our Chairman, Peter Lawson CBE, said: ‘I am delighted at the news of the award of an OBE to our wonderfully enterprising General Director, Alex Reedijk, who has led Scottish Opera with great commitment, determination and success for the past 18 years . The award is a recognition of Alex’s  championship of the wider Scottish Cultural sector, and the whole Scottish Opera family join me in offering Alex our sincere congratulations and indeed thanks, for his continuing leadership and enthusiasm.’