Viola Katherine Wren

When did you join the RSNO?
I joined the RSNO in May 1998.

Where are you from?

Where did you study?
I studied at the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music.

What do you enjoy most about being in the RSNO?
I enjoy playing great music and being part of a big sound. I also love travelling, especially getting the chance to play in smaller places in more rural areas of Scotland during ‘Out and About Week’.

Tell us your favourite RSNO story/memory so far.
Absolutely undoubtedly playing “Götterdämmerung” in the Edinburgh International Festival in 2018. I remember my professor at university saying that Wagner is “dangerous music”. There is something all-consuming about his music – the huge emotions, the eroticism of his harmony, the orchestral colour. Accompanying a Brünnhilde of the calibre of Christine Goerke is also an experience to remember.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not playing with the Orchestra?
My hobbies include being outdoors, especially cycle-touring and ski-touring. I also perform and commission new music with my ensemble, Nordic Viola, formed after my sabbatical from the RSNO in 2016.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I’m a qualified German to English translator and a have been a Scottish National Cycling Champion in the Team Time Trial!

If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be, and why?
Scottish writer Gavin Francis. His book “True North” gave me the final push I needed to take a sabbatical to the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland.

You’re stranded on a desert island. You’re allowed 3 CDs and 1 book. What would they be, and why?
How many Wagner CDs am I allowed and are box sets cheating?! I’d choose Wagner’s Parsifal, because it’s one of the most perfectly constructed operas he wrote, and Götterdämmerung, preferably a recording of the very special RSNO/EIF production. Finally, I’d go for Sibelius 7 – possibly the most concise symphony ever written.  Also, I hate heat and a desert island would be hell so this would remind me of my beloved Far North. My book would be Zola’s Germinal. Immaculately written, thought-provoking, and always revealing something new.