The Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is to lead Scotland’s national orchestra from 2018.

The conductor will succeed the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's (RSNO) current music director, Peter Oundjian, from September of that year.

Søndergård first appeared with the RSNO in November 2009 as a last-minute replacement for a sick conductor and went on to lead lauded performances of Shostakovich’s Symphony No11 in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

He was appointed to the position of Principal Guest Conductor in 2011 and since then has appeared with the RSNO up to four times each season.

He has conducted works by Ravel, Haydn, Prokofiev, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Messiaen, Britten, Dvo?ák, Beethoven, Bartók, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Nielsen, Chopin, Mussorgsky, Szymanowski, Schubert, Stravinsky and Shostakovich with the RSNO.

Søndergård will remain as Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales until the end of its 2017/18 Season.

Mr Oundjian steps down as Music Director at the end of the 2018 Season but will continue to conduct the orchestra - he will return to Scotland for Season concerts as well as leading the orchestra on its next European tour.

Mr Søndergård said: "From the moment I was invited to stand in at the last moment to conduct Shostakovich’s Symphony No 11 nearly seven years ago I felt something important was going to happen.

"With so little time to prepare I felt we would have a lot of work to do, and yet once we began rehearsing our working relationship clicked in such a way that by the time of the performances, my first in Scotland, I think that together we were able to come close to the heart of this great music.

"Since then we have grown together, explored a broad range of repertoire, gradually pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and our connection is as strong as ever. It’s wonderful to have reached this point and I look forward to the future musical journeys to come in my tenure as Music Director.

"I must thank Peter Oundjian for his tireless support and his invaluable contribution.

"This is an ensemble in great shape with an insatiable appetite for music-making. I’m delighted that Peter has agreed to continue his work with the RSNO after 2017:18.

"Scotland has a strong musical heritage and I feel privileged to play an increasingly involved role in the future of its national orchestra."

Mr Oundjian said: "I’ve enjoyed a tremendously fruitful time with the RSNO.

"The Orchestra’s passion for music-making is a thrill to be a part of.

"To welcome Thomas as my successor is both heart-warming and comforting, knowing that the musicians I’ve known for the past fifteen years will be in the most capable of hands. It promises to be a tremendously exciting future for Thomas and the RSNO and I wish them every success."

Dr Krishna Thiagarajan, RSNO's chief executive, said: “In this business it is reasonably normal for the courtship of potential Music Directors to be relatively brief, a handful of dates before the decision is made.

"In this instance the musicians have had eight years’ experience of working with Thomas Søndergård, five of which as Principal Guest Conductor.

"That the Orchestra was virtually unanimous in its decision to appoint Thomas to succeed Peter speaks volumes about the strength of the relationship and the mutual respect they share."

Søndergård’s first RSNO programme in his new position of Music Director Designate features Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder with soloist Jennifer Johnston, Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No3 and Sibelius’ Canzonetta, Kuolema: Kurkikohtaus (Scene with Cranes) and Symphony No5, at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 26 May and at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 27 May.