THE Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) has announced that Paolo Dutto has been appointed to the position of Principal Contrabassoon.

Dutto will officially take up the post in May 2019 and the orchestra has also been joined by Robin Wilson, who will join its second violin section in June.

Dutto is one of the founding members of the award-winning Sinestesia Woodwind Quintet.

Wilson comes to Scotland following a successful career in London, performing regularly with the Royal Philharmonic and London Philharmonic Orchestras, and beforehand was a member of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin.

Mr Dutto said: "I am glad, honoured and grateful for being chosen as a new member of the RSNO.

"For me it's a fantastic dream, to the point where I still can't believe it. In this orchestra I found musicians of the highest level, passionate, refined and happy to play, but, even more important and amazing, I met a family made of truly unique people, marvellous and enthusiastic friends."

Wilson said: "I am thrilled to join the second violin section of the RSNO. I have had the pleasure of working with both RSNO Music Director Thomas Søndergård and Principal Guest Conductor Elim Chan during my time with the team and can't wait to continue to make music with my new colleagues."

These are the third and fourth appointments to the orchestra since Thomas Søndergård was appointed to the position of RSNO Music Director last year, Jason Lewis as Associate Principal Trumpet and Martin Murphy as Assistant Principal Horn.

The RSNO has departed for North America for its second US tour in as many years, with six concerts across California and Arizona with Søndergård, pianist Olga Kern and solo violinist Sandy Cameron.

NEARLY fifty cultural projects have been backed by £880,000 from Creative Scotland, the arts funding agency.

The latest round of the Open Project awards have been announced, with grants of between £1,800 and £130,000.

Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery and Ullapool's Visual Arts centre, An Talla Solaism, receive support towards their 2019 programmes.

The collective Neu! Reekie! has received support to present Remain In Light, a year-long monthly programme of cultural showcases.

Stornoway’s multi-award-winning music and arts festival, HebCelt, Glasgow’s Take Me Somewhere, West Dunbartonshire’s Booked, Ayrshire’s Boswell Book Festival and the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival have also all received funds.

Iain Munro, acting Chief Executive at Creative Scotland said: "From Stornoway to Dumfries, these awards demonstrate the outstanding quality and diversity of artistic practice thriving across Scotland.

"Supporting the research, development and creation of new work from individual artists to artistic programmes from internationally renowned festivals, bringing together communities and people from across Scotland to enjoy high quality artistic and creative experiences."

Visual artist Wendy McMurdo will create Chatrooms, which explores the impact of data immersion on young identities.

McMurdo said: “Chatrooms continues my interest in the ways in which children now relate to each other in a world of increasing simulation.

"I’m keen to further extend and develop a new piece of work which uses data visualisation and animation to explore the impact of social media and game playing on the contemporary imagination."

The 48 Hour Film Project receives support towards the 2019 editions in Edinburgh (17-19 May) and Glasgow (October).

A CELEBRATION of spy fiction and film is to be held at the University of Edinburgh from 5 to 12 April.

The world of Ian Fleming’s James Bond will be discussed by a panel of academics who will consider the British secret service agent on screen.

Film experts will examine how different actors, such as Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig, have changed the cultural perception and physical image of James Bond.

Among the specialists taking part are Lucy Bolton, of Queen Mary University of London, Nick Jones, of the University York and Julie Lobalzo Wright, of the University of Warwick.

Each film that features a new Bond actor will be screened at the Edinburgh Filmhouse.

Anthony Horowitz will discuss his novel Forever and A Day, a prequel to Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, which he wrote following the release of the 2006 film.

The role of women in politics and espionage in the 17th century will be discussed by Nadine Akkerman, author of the prize-winning Invisible Agents.

Best-selling detective writer Val McDermid and spy novelist Adam Brookes will explore the differences between crime and espionage fiction and talk about their own work.

The events taking place across Edinburgh, are mostly free but ticketed.