Vicci Wardman


Yorkshire lass Vicci Wardman started playing viola at the age of seven, an unusual move as most violists actually begin their music training on violin. However no great aesthetic guidance was behind this decision; the Scottish headmistress in her school gave her this position in the orchestra simply because she was tall. At 14 she entered the Chatham School of Music, and it was in this period that she began to feel that music would be her life Read more rather than a hobby. While at the Royal Northern College she co-founded the Sorrel Quartet, taking the name from an herb she found in a cookbook. She played for the next 12 years with this group and in both this context and her work as a solo performer she has been actively involved in the promotion and performance of contemporary works. The Sorrel group has recorded the 1945 First String Quartet of Dorween Carwitheen, a piece liked very much by the master British composer Vaughan Williams except for seven bars of ponticello in the coda, something Williams thought was "nasty noise," although the latter activity certainly seems to have its place in contemporary music. It would not be a very accurate description of the works of Haydn, one of the great composers that the Sorrel group also specializes in. Others are Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten. The other members of the group are violinists Gina McCormack and Catherine Yates and cellist Helen Thatcher. Wardman made the group her main priority although she also played with a number of orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, the Liverpool Philharmonic, the Northern Sinfonia, and the Orchestra of Les Hallé. She was also the principal viola of the Manchester Camerata for two years. A weekend in which the Sorrel group performed all 15 of Shostakovich's string quartets was her final bow with this group, or should we say bowing. But it was not a matter of this epic presentation being the last straw. Rather, Wardman was so thrilled with these performances and the audience's responses that they represented some kind of musical height that she felt could never be repeated.

She relocated to London in the late '90s after leaving the Sorrel Quartet and became a guest principal violist for the London Mozart Players and the London Chamber Orchestra. She premiered John Pickard's Chaconne for Solo Violin in 1999 at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music. In 2001 she became one of the first violists with the London Philharmonia Orchestra, a position she shares with Rachel Roberts. Read less

There are 6 Vicci Wardman recordings available.

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