VIOLA

Throughout her viola playing career, Sophie has sought to develop both sides of her musicianship as interpreter and innovator. Her 38 years of professional playing began as violist in the Orford String Quartet, in residence at the University of Toronto. She later took up the Principal Viola position in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and has performed as a chamber musician at numerous festivals, including the International Festivals of Gstaad, Kuhmo, ISM Prussia Cove, London Proms and Carnegie Hall recital series.

Her orchestral and ensemble work has spanned those orchestras that use elements of Historically Informed Performance Practice such as Orchestre Romantique et Revolutionaire and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment to the modern orchestra – BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Royal London Philharmonic. She has been guest Principal Viola with English National Opera, Glyndebourne and Holland Park Opera and many of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras including Britten Sinfonia, Orchestra of St Martin in the Fields and English Chamber Orchestra.

During her years in the Orford Quartet she was very inspired by the intimate relationship the quartet enjoyed with composer and writer, R Murray Schafer. Schafer wrote his first 5 string quartets for the Orford and each one was worked on in close collaboration with the players. This sparked a life-long desire to keep working closely with composers on new works and to explore new ways of working with ensembles.

In 1991 she co-founded the Blue Rider Ensemble, an instrumental-theatre group that set out to extend the expressive and dramatic range for instrumentalists in performance. Blue Rider commissioned several new works including the stand-alone dramatic work “Mounting Picasso” by Peter Hatch which incorporates improvisation, theatre, dance and video into a score for instrumentalists and a singer.

Sophie has also participated in numerous projects by Ensemble Modern and London Sinfonietta, toured Japan with Ruichi Sakamoto’s opera “Life” and played live on stage to accompany the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company.

Sophie’s interest in arranging and composing led her to invite violinist Lucy Russell and cellist Ruth Phillips to form “Trio Mythos” in 2017. The trio plays on gut and enjoys exploring the relationship between elements of Baroque performance practice and folk music. In 2019 Sophie created arrangements for the trio to accompany original songs by Northumbrian singer-songwriter duo Brothers Gillespie and Provencal polyphonic vocal trio Tant Que Li Siam which was recorded for CD.