Roanna Tait

Roanna Tait violin

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life. Not necessarily music-related!

I am a freelance musician based in Edinburgh (where I grew up) following my graduation from University of Edinburgh with BMus (Hons) in 2017.  I play both violin and piano and so far, have been exploring teaching, accompanying, the Kodály Approach to music education as well as performing.

I really enjoy the outdoors, being out walking surrounded by nature and far away from city pollution!

I like singing in choirs with my friends and meeting other musicians by taking part in different projects and spending time with my cat. Now I am thinking about Masters courses and deciding where to go next on my musical journey.

How did you first get into music?

My parents are visual artists but they have a strong interest in music so they encouraged me to start piano lessons at the age of 5.

Scottish traditional music always had a particular draw for me and it was because I wanted to play fiddle music that I chose to begin violin lessons at the age of 7.

What made you decide that music would be an important part of your life?

When I first began playing in full-sized symphony orchestras age 13 I was so impressed by the scale of the ensemble, of the huge range of colours and dynamics that it could achieve and the beautiful imaginative worlds that you are transported to by large symphonic works.  For me there is a particularly special way that happens when you are participating and not only listening.

What has been your musical highlight so far?

I recently broadened my horizons by taking part in a MusXchange program to the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands – I loved it so much I auditioned to participate in their summer projects!  It is a very international orchestra and I really enjoyed meeting people from all corners of the world and sharing our cultures all the while connected by music.

While at university I undertook a ‘Music in the Community’ placement at Oaklands School in Edinburgh.  There I experienced some truly beautiful moments using music with children who have profound additional support needs.  In particular, my team mates and I once lead an assembly:

This was often a noisy event and potentially distressing for some pupils but once we started to sing and play a magical silence descended.  Each person was united in listening and captivated as they experienced the music.  It was a very special feeling for us as musicians and this was also echoed in the reaction of the staff as they told us how amazing and unique the experience was both for them and the pupils.

Who are your favourite composers/artists/musicians?

I really love all music but in particular new music.  At NYOS in April 2018 we had the opportunity to perform a new work by Jay Capperauld called ‘Endlings’.  This was a concerto about the gradual extinction of animals on our planet and finished with the players leaving the stage one by one until only the piano soloist and one percussionist were left.  I really enjoyed the creativity of this piece as well as its thought-provoking message.

I am also a fan of the Scottish Ensemble because of their creative programming also their energy as an ensemble!

What do you anticipate for the Nevis Ensemble?

I am looking forward to playing an active role in the ensemble, working with likeminded, motivated musicians and building on a broad range of skills.  I hope that we can introduce orchestral music to many people who may not otherwise be able to experience it, to share our love and passion for our art but also for people and how music makes us feel and connect as human beings.