About Nordic Viola



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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 six months travelling in the region, viola player Katherine Wren shares contemporary reflections, traditional melodies and personal testimonies that are shaped by vast northern landscapes.

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Nordic Viola is a flexible ensemble of woodwind and string players drawn mainly from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. They have commissioned music from emerging composers Lillie Harris, Anna Appleby (UK) and Arnannguaq Gerstrøm (Greenland) as well as performing pieces by more established composers such as Danish composer Poul Ruders and Faroese/Danish composer Kristian Blak. In November they will give the premiere performance of “Sermitsiaq” by Adrian Vernon Fish, a string trio about the eponymous mountain that dominates Greenlandic capital Nuuk’s skyline

Nordic Viola has performed in Tórshavn (Faroes), Seyðisfjörður (Iceland), Baltasound and Lerwick (Shetland) as well as venues throughout Scotland. In November 2017 they played at a reception in the Scottish Parliament for the Arctic Circle Conference and in January they performed in the RSNO Chamber Series.

Nordic Viola were invited back to the Faroe Islands in July 2018 as part of the Summartónar Festival where they performed in the Nordic House in Tórshavn and Rítuvík church. Katherine also performed alongside Faroese trombonist, Dávur Juul Magnussen, in one of the famous “Concerto Grotto” cave concerts.

In October 2018 Nordic Viola performed at soundfestival in Aberdeen where they  premiered Anna Appleby’s new piece “Hrakningar” for flute, viola and bassoon, a co-commission from Nordic Viola and soundfestival.

Nordic Viola will be on tour in Iceland in March 2019.

Forthcoming engagements:

26th October 2018  soundfestival, St. Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen 1:10

16th November 2018 King Street Halls, Kirkwall, Orkney 7:30pm                 with Orkney composer Gemma McGregor

29th/30th March Iceland Venues tbc

Transport generously supported by:


Education and Outreach

Education and outreach are a key part of our work. Masterclasses and creative workshops have taken place in music schools in Iceland, Faroes, Greenland and Shetland and in conjunction with Dunblane Cathedral Arts Guild.

If you wish to contact us regarding concerts or workshops, please use the contact page.

More news and travel tales from the North Atlantic can be found on the blog.




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