RSNO Chamber Series

Helen Brew, Katherine Wren, Lillie Harris, Arnannguaq Gerstrøm, David Martin, David Hubbard

Well, we certainly got the weather for Nordic Viola’s Glasgow concert! It was snowing hard – so hard that unfortunately several people couldn’t make it, which was a real shame. Still, it was atmospheric.

Sunday’s concert was special in so many ways. It was my chance to say thank you to the RSNO for allowing me a sabbatical in the first place. I really wanted to be able to share the music I discovered during my travels, as well as my experiences, with the RSNO audience.


It was great to bring together the musicians I’ve worked with the most and who have supported me throughout my journey with the two composers who I commissioned works from: Lillie Harris and Arnannguaq Gerstrøm. It was a real privilege to perform their music for them.

Perthshire in Winter!

After my many great experiences in Greenland and Shetland with Arnannguaq and Lillie, I enjoyed sharing my own beautiful surroundings in Perthshire and I have to say, generally speaking, the weather came up trumps. It’s good to be reminded that your own home is a beautiful place, too!

Future Concerts

Sunday’s concert was an important stage in Nordic Viola’s journey, but there’s much more to come. We have a concert in Kinbuck in Perthshire on 25th March, which I’ll post about soon.

In the summer we travel to the Faroe islands to perform music by Faroese composers and music inspired by the Faroe Islands in the Sumartónar Festival.

Future TravelsDSCN4330

Beyond that, I’d like to work with Gemma McGregor in Orkney, take “Ukioq”, Arnannguaq’s piece, back to Greenland, work with Charles Ross in Iceland again and perform Adrian Vernon Fish’s Sermitsiaq in full. I also need to find a clarinettist to join us for Angela Slater’s “Flickering Airs”. There’s so much more exciting work to do, so please stay in touch!!

RSNO Chamber Series 21st January 14:30

A few people have been asking about what we’ll be playing in Glasgow next Sunday, so here’s a sneaky preview. As well as the music, there will be readings to set the scene and give a flavour of life and culture in the Far North.

The names of the composers may be unfamiliar to you – they were to me 18 months ago, too! They are, however, well-known in Nordic musical circles. We have played to audiences of all ages, so bring your children, too. There’s a huge variety of styles – something for everybody! Still not sure, well here’s what our Dunblane audience had to say in October:

“What a journey it was, both literary and musically. You conveyed your wonder and fascination with the Nordic lands in such an absorbing way. I think the whole audience was hooked!”

“Loved it – well done! I especially loved Lillie’s piece.” “Lovely concert. Fab playing and some really interesting music. We really enjoyed it and it was good to have such a good turnout.” “Well done for a cracking concert.”

We begin in the Faroes with a traditional hymn tune and listen as the islands move through spring and into summer with Kári Baek’s Vár Trio and Kristian Blak’s remarkable piece for seabirds and viola, Drrrunnn.

Winter hits Shetland in Lillie Harris’ depiction of a raging storm, AND, followed by a moonlit night imagined by Adrian Vernon Fish in Uyeasound Nocturne. Summer returns to the Northern Isles in contemporary Shetland fiddler Margaret Robertson’s tunes Wilderness and Shaela and we finish the first half with Peter Maxwell Davies’ ever-popular Farewell to Stromness.

After the interval we travel to the Far North with a set of Icelandic folk songs arranged by Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson. The two sides of the dark months are depicted in my own Winter Melancholy and in the wonderful, dancelike Prelude from Poul Ruder’s Autumn Collection.

Our concert ends in Greenland with Arnannguaq Gerstrøm’s playful description of winter, Ukioq, which brings back many wonderful memories for me of being out in the snow in Greenland in February as the days rapidly lengthened. This is followed by an improvised reflection on a traditional Inuit tune. The journey comes full circle with a set of traditional tunes about Greenland from Shetland, highlighting the common seafaring heritage of the islands of the North.


Nordic Viola in RSNO Chamber Series, Glasgow


When it comes to music, the North speaks its own language. Led by Katherine Wren, 4 players from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra take an extraordinary journey: contemporary tales of the Faroes, Shetland, Iceland and the Arctic sit side by side with music from the father of Faroese classical music (Heinesen) and new reflections by Katherine Wren and Composers’ Hub alumni Lillie Harris. Folk roots, personal testimonies, melodies shaped by the elements and new sounds from vast landscapes: it all adds up to something that’s simultaneously timeless, modern and utterly compelling.
Sun 21 Jan 2018, 2.30PM
New Auditorium, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Box Office:
Book Online Now!

£14 in advance / £16 on the day

This slideshow requires JavaScript.