Keith Bruce, arts editor

Scottish Opera yesterday named British conductor Stuart Stratford, who has previously worked with English National Opera, Finnish National Opera, and Leeds-based Opera North as its new music director. Mr Stratford, who has conducted the Scottish national company's most recent production of Janacek's Jenufa will take up the post on June 1 on a seven year contract.

The announcement brings to an end a haitus of year and a half in the musical leadership of Scottish Opera. French conductor Emmanuel Joel-Hornak, who was appointed in April 2013 to succeed Francesco Corti, lasted only a month in the post later that year before departing.

Scottish Opera's general director Alex Reedijk said that the lengthy process "had produced the right answer", with over a hundred expressions of interest being reduced to a shortlist of five.

Mr Stratford, 40, is married with a young son. His mother is from Clydebank, where her Kilbowie Road home was destroyed during the Second World War. He was born in Preston and read music at Cambridge before studying for three years in St Petersburg with Ilya Aleksandrovich Musin, who has also taught Valery Gergiev and British conductors Martyn Brabbins and Sian Edwards.

He said: "My time here on Jenufa has shown me what a vibrant company Scottish Opera is. I look forward to working with the fantastic team to provide artistic and musical leadership in the coming years."

He envisages conducting two shows in the company's season as well as being involved in smaller scale work, "which has to be of the same high quality as main stage productions." He also expressed enthusiasm for making work in venues beyond Glasgow's Theatre Royal, on the model of the Birmingham Opera Company, where he has worked with director Graham Vick.

The first works which the new music director has had a hand in programming will be seen in Scottish Opera's 2016/17 season.