In the AWO’s orchestral programme there is always a kind of reunion or party atmosphere – does that happen for the chamber concerts as well?

Definitely – although probably slightly less euphoric because chamber music can be more exacting than orchestral performing, and there’s generally less time to put together complex musical structures. When every note you perform (or don’t!) is audible (and visible!) and there’s no conductor, then you need a different awareness. It’s a wonderful way to be collaborating with other AWO musicians – I guess on a more personal level.

Coming from different orchestras around the world, how challenging is it to come in and find a voice as an ensemble?

I always maintain that you can’t push 100 musicians on stage and say, look, there’s an orchestra! For some reason it works with the AWO; although our ages vary greatly, we seem to have a similar aesthetic, and similar creative willpower. And I have to say that in most of the AWO  projects to date I’ve felt that the viola section (and the entire orchestra for that matter) were producing a really amazing homogenous and complex sound, which is a separate phenomenon to the wonderful energy that the...