First Violin Ursula Heidecker Allen

Supported by The James and Iris Miller Chair

When did you join the RSNO?
I joined the RSNO in April 1995.

Where are you from?
I was born and grew up in Augsburg, Bavaria,
in the south of Germany.

Where did you study?
At first in the small German town of Trossingen, then for a post-grad in Karlsruhe. Finally, I went to London for lessons with Emanuel Hurwitz.

What do you enjoy most about being in the RSNO?
The most enjoyable parts of being in the RSNO are the camaraderie and the way everyone pulls together, the sound the Orchestra can produce, the outstanding quality of the players, the variety of repertoire we play, and the superb soloists and conductors who come to work with us.

What is your favourite RSNO memory?
Totally outstanding concerts include Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony with Thomas Søndergård, Mahler’s Second Symphony with Neeme Järvi, a staged performance of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande with Stephane Denève, a Prom with Lalo Shifrin, and generally working with Walter Weller (including the whole orchestra being invited by him to a real Heurigen – an inn serving locally made wine – in Vienna!).

If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be, and why?
Since I heard an interview with her a few years ago, I wanted to meet Jessye Norman, as she had such an amazingly positive attitude to life. Sadly, that won’t be possible now. But I’d also love to meet the conductor Mariss Jansons, who is similarly positive. And recently, my husband took me to the Savings Bank Museum in Ruthwell, south of Dumfries. This first-ever savings bank was founded in 1810 by Henry Duncan, the then local minister, and all the villagers happily trusted him with their meagre savings. He was a real polymath with a lively conscience who cared about those around him. I think he’d be a good man to talk to!

You’re stranded on a desert island. You’re allowed three albums and a book. What would they be and why?
Only three discs? That’s impossible! Bach’s B minor Mass would be there, and Schubert’s String Quintet. But then? Anything by Brahms, Mozart, Shostakovich or Richard Strauss, or some jazz – I think I’d have to smuggle some in secretly! One book? Do I finally catch up on Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky? Or take all the Harry Potters to keep me entertained? I’d have no idea where to start.