Nordic Viola will take you on an extraordinary journey in words and music to the Faroe Islands, Orkney and Shetland, Iceland and Greenland. The islands are bound together by a common seafaring heritage and share musical and cultural connections. In a programme shaped by travelling in the region, immersed in the culture of the Far North, viola player Katherine Wren shares contemporary reflections, traditional melodies and personal testimonies that are shaped by vast northern landscapes.
Founded in 2016, Nordic Viola is a flexible ensemble of woodwind and string players forming musical and cultural connections in the North Atlantic Region with an emphasis on contemporary music and its relationship with traditional forms.
Nordic Viola, described by The Scotsman as a “quietly pioneering project,” has performed in the Faroes (Summartónar Festival 2018), Iceland (with Charles Ross in the renowned contemporary arts venue Mengi in Reykjavik and in Slátarhusið, Egilsstaðir, with pianist Arnhildur Valgarðsdóttir in the Bláakirkjan Summer Concert Series in Seyðisfjörður) and Greenland.
In 2022 Nordic Viola’s Sagas and Seascapes, a multimedia production with music, art and film, was selected as part of the Made In Scotland Showcase.They are frequent visitors to the Northern Isles and have also played throughout mainland Scotland with performances as part of Arbroath 2020+1, soundfestival in Aberdeen 2018 and 2021 and the RSNO Chamber Series in January 2018.
Nordic Viola has been commended for their work commissioning emerging women composers. Their most recent commission, Aud by Linda Buckley, was supported by the PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music fund in 2021.
In 2019 and 2020 the ensemble was shortlisted for the Scottish Awards for New Music “Making it Happen” award and founder Katherine Wren was highly commended in the 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society/ABO Salomon Prize
In 2020, Nordic Viola produced their first digital concert for OISF and UHI Institute of Northern Studies and have also recorded performances for the RCS/RSE Art-Making in the Anthropocene Series and the Scottish New Music Awards 2021.
Forthcoming projects include Nordic Viola’s first album release in 2023/24 and performances at the Nordic House in the Faroe Islands and the Boat Hall at Shetland Museum.
You can hear some of our music, including our commissions, here.
Find out what other people have said about Nordic Viola here.
If you would like to support us in paying our musicians and composers fairly and to extend the reach of our education work, you can donate via Buy me a coffee or Paypal.me Thank you for your support.