PART of the game in covering the arts as a journalist is the question of knowing what is coming up on the cultural agenda and sharing that with the readers before anyone else. It is a complex business, with organisations keen to keep their plans under wraps until they can be unveiled with suitable ceremony, and writers always after a scoop but wary of damaging good relations with long-standing contacts. In areas like international festival planning and opera and orchestra seasons, secrets are often closely guarded for a long time because of the forward schedule commitments of artists, and the performers themselves are usually made very aware of what they can say to whom and when.

In theory this might seem to make running an arts business which works in those areas a fairly relaxed, long-view sort of undertaking. In practice things are very different, because of what former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan called, in a political context, “Events, dear boy, events.”

The beginning of this year’s orchestral season in Scotland has been remarkable musically with concerts from all three of our large bands of the very highest quality. But it has also been remarkable for the number of changes of conductor, soloists and programmes that managements have had to cope with. A year ago Bill Chandler was associate leader of the RSNO, sitting at the left hand side of whoever was concertmaster of the orchestra that week at the front of the first violins. In two moves he has become the RSNO’s Director of Planning and Engagement, having taken on responsibility for outreach work and then, following the departure of Manus Carey, the contracting of guest artists. His baptism of fire last weekend was a concert that depended on the uncertain outcomes of a piano competition in Texas and the results of student composition nurturing by mentor Stuart MacRae, which then had to deal with the absence of not one but two conductors when Cristian Macelaru’s replacement Sergey Neller, the Russian winner of last year’s Gustav Mahler conducting prize, himself pulled out. Chandler and his artistic planning manager Catherine Ferrell somehow located Jose Luis Gomez, ready to tackle the mighty Symphony No.12 of Shostakovich as well as everything else on the programme.

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At Glasgow City Halls a month ago, Scottish Chamber Orchestra chief executive Gavin Reid appeared onstage at the start of a concert to note that losing both your conductor, Robin Ticciati, and piano soloist, Igor Levit, to illness in one week was particularly unfortunate. That concert went ahead as something of a sensational triumph with replacement soloist Javier Perianes taking charge of the Schumann concerto and popular SCO leader Benjamin Marquis Gilmore stepping up to direct the rest of the evening from the violin.

Since then the SCO has dealt with the indisposition of conductor Emmanuel Krivine from the start of his own series of sponsored concerts by securing the UK debut of fine American conductor Case Scaglione, and the absence of soprano Elizabeth Watts, who recently gave birth to twin girls, from the line-up for Schumann’s Requiem.

Singer Rowan Pierce was her replacement there, while Rachel Nicholls stepped in for Watts at the same venue at the start of the BBC SSO’s season for Tippett’s Symphony No.3. A week later, Reid’s successor as director of the BBC SSO, Dominic Parker, had to watch, horrified, as guest French conductor took a tumble from the stage during rehearsals and hurt himself badly enough to rule out his planned oboe feature in the first of the season’s Thursday afternoon concerts.

The next complexity the BBC Scottish had to deal with was the home venue performance of the programme they were about to tour across Europe without the featured soloist Nicolaj Znaider. His planned replacement was to have been Armenian Sergey Khachatryan, but he was substituted by Russian violinist Alexandra Soumm, whom attentive Scottish concertgoers might have remembered playing with the RSNO under the baton of Alexander Lazarev – just to complete a circle of sorts.

The comparison with our politicians, floundering in the face of “events”, is perhaps facile, but no less valid for all that. More pertinent, perhaps, is that few businesses could have produced the high quality results we have heard in the past two months under such unpredictably fluid circumstances, which speaks volumes for the strength of the teams both onstage and behind the scenes.