One of my earliest memories is sitting on the kitchen floor with sunlight streaming through the window and my mum playing a recording of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet. I grew up surrounded by music, and at the age of nine I started having viola lessons at school. It didn’t occur to me until much later that it was unusual to learn the viola from the beginning, and how lucky it was that my school chose to teach it. The alto register is where my singing voice lies, and what my ear has always been drawn to, so it felt very natural to me.
By secondary school I knew I wanted to take music seriously, and so I went to the City of Edinburgh Music School. I loved being surrounded by like-minded people and playing music every day as part of my school timetable.
In my second year I started having severe headaches, and had to have an operation. An important part of my recovery was being strong enough to play the viola again; I played through the Bach Cello Suites and had an overwhelming feeling of joy and relief. This was my first sense of the healing and therapeutic properties of music. It sparked an interest in me to explore how music can help people.
I was drawn to the vibrancy and excitement of London, and so I moved down to study at the Royal College of Music (RCM). I met and worked with incredible musicians, performing in the RCM Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink, alongside musicians from the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and with various chamber groups in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall and Wigmore Hall. I started playing with Street Orchestra Live, and have performed with them in hospices, prisons, train stations, B&Q, the vegetable isle of Tesco, Heathrow Detention Centre, and many more unusual venues!
One of my favourite projects has been Melodies for Mums, a series of singing and music-making sessions for mothers with post-natal depression. Learning that music is a powerful therapy in its own right has been amazing and I’m so grateful to have been part of it.
In my spare time I love painting, reading and travelling when I can. I have been giving violin lessons in exchange for Spanish lessons for the past three years and I’m really enjoying learning a new language.
Royal College of Music
What do you do with your time when you’re not playing music?
When I’m not playing classical music I love to sing and play the ukulele. I once wrote a song for my driving instructor (he’s never heard it).
What’s your most memorable moment as a musician?
In my master's final recital I played Martinů’s Madrigals for violin and viola with a close friend. It was the culmination of six years of hard work and it was so great to share that with someone who had been through it all with me.