Yla Steven – SFO Soloist

Yla Steven - SFO Soloist

Yla Steven was born in Edinburgh.

Her unusual Christian name is simply the old spelling of Glen Isla in Perthshire, where she had a home in early years.

Learning the violin

She began learning the violin in Edinburgh, at the age of seven, continued her studies in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, and later graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

A strong interest in Scottish traditional fiddle music developed at an early age, and she entertained at many events during her teenage years. [Read more…]

STV Appeal is the SFO Charity Partner for 2015

Scottish Fiddle Orchestra Members playing at STV Appeal Big Live 2014

SFO Members playing at STV Appeal Big Live 2014

The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra is proud to announce that its Charity Partner for its Scottish concerts in 2015 will be the STV Appeal.

STV Appeal’s achievements to date

The Appeal, now in its 5th year, has raised in excess of £8.2million to help fight child poverty in Scotland. Statistics show that around 1 in 5 children in Scotland live in poverty. [Read more…]

Bill Cook – SFO Leader and President

Bill Cook - SFO Leader and President

Born in Alloa on 3rd September 1939, Bill is the eldest of three children.

He comes from a musical family, with his father being an accomplished violinist.

His brother plays the guitar, his sister the piano, but it was to the violin that Bill was directed as a youngster, under the tutelage of his father, who was, at the time, the conductor of Stirling Strathspey & Reel Society.

This early association with Scottish music fuelled a passion within Bill which was to become a major influence in his life and was to take him all over the world. [Read more…]

John Mason Interview – Perth – December 2009

John Mason Interview 2009

John Mason was the founder of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra and its Musical Director until his death, at the age of 71, in January 2011.

There’s a brief but revealing interview with him on YouTube, from which you can get a good idea of his drive and enthusiasm for Scottish Traditional Music, in general, and the SFO, in particular.

His great sense of humour and fun also come across well. [Read more…]

Free Sheet Music for Fiddlers


Via our Facebook page, a piper based in Santiago, Chile, recently requested the sheet music for the Eightsome Reel as played by the SFO.

Using the fantastic resource that is The Session website – even though it’s meant primarily for Irish, not Scottish, tunes – we were able t0 give him a good idea of the melody lines to Mrs McLeod of Raasay, The Fairy Dance, The De’il Amang the Tailors (2nd setting), Soldier’s Joy, The Mason’s Apron (7th setting), Staten Island, and Kate Dalrymple.

This all prompted thoughts about where else on the internet you can obtain free sheet music for fiddlers and the following few locations sprang to mind. [Read more…]

Fiddle Music at Christmas

Fiddle, Cello, Double Bass

On the Winter Solstice, as we approach the end of one year and the beginning of another, it seems appropriate to have a look at some traditional tunes with associations to Christmas or New Year. [Read more…]

Aims of the SFO

Break during SFO Rehearsal, Perth High School - November 2014

Break during SFO Rehearsal, Perth High School – November 2014

The SFO dates from 1980 and, in 2006, it became a company limited by guarantee.

You can find more information about the Orchestra on our “About” page. [Read more…]

Scots Fiddle Festival 2014

Scots Fiddle Festival 2014

Scots Fiddle Festival 2014

What must be about the 19th annual Scots Fiddle Festival takes place in Edinburgh over the weekend of 21st – 23rd November 2014.

Run by Scots Fiddle Festival Ltd, a registered charity, it is a feast of fiddle music, with concerts, workshops, ceilidhs, recitals, talks, an “open stage”, sessions and stalls.

The festival’s committee are all volunteers and they put their heart and soul into the organisation. They deserve congratulations for bringing together another international cast of performers for the evening concerts – this year, extended to three nights (adding Sunday). [Read more…]

Willie Hunter – SFO Pays Tribute 20 Years On From His Untimely Death

The SFO’s concert programme for 2014 includes a tribute to Shetland fiddler, Willie Hunter, who died in 1994 at the age of 60.

Yla Steven plays probably Willie’s best-known composition – the Slow Air “Leaving Lerwick Harbour” – in an arrangement by the SFO’s late Musical Director, John Mason.

Leaving Lerwick Harbour

The tune was written after the return of his aunt Babsie to New Zealand following a holiday in her native Shetland. Willie always recalled her departure on the ferry and it inspired him to compose this beautiful melody. It is thought to have been Willie’s favourite among all his compositions. [Read more…]

Welcome to the new website

It’s been a busy summer,  hope to see you at a concert soon.