Emma Tomlinson



Emma Tomlinson is a Glasgow based freelance musician, researcher and educator.  Originally from Liverpool Emma moved to Scotland to pursue a career in Traditional music. A viola player first and foremost, Emma also plays the violin/fiddle and Piano. In 2017 Emma won the award for tutor of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad. Music Awards. She works extensively across Scotland with students of all ages and abilities in informal and formal music making.

‘Scotland needs more Emma Tomlinsons. She is a fantastic teacher and musician but more than that Emma is one of our top educationalists. Not a day goes by when she isn’t planning new and exciting ways to reach and teach young people of the music of Scotland and abroad.’ - Simon Thoumire, Hands Up For Trad, 2015

In 2016 Emma set up the Ayrshire Traditional Music Summer School to facilitate access for young people in Ayrshire to Scottish Traditional music with some of Trad. Musics top musicians including, Jenn Butterworth, John Somerville, Adam Sutherland, Natalie Haas and Alasdair Fraser. 

Emma is a founding member of The Routes Quartet (MG Alba Folk Band of the Year Nominee 2017). Routes are Scotland’s trad. String quartet, combining chamber-like quality with traditional melodies, groove and innovative arrangements. Routes have a live album, Windrose, recorded in 2017 and tour regularly around the UK with plans to travel further afield in the near future. Windrose was produced by Patsy Reid and Routes have received coaching from Patsy Reid, Greg Lawson and Su-a Lee.

At the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Emma is a part-time PhD student using practice-base, ethnographic and artistic methods to research the viola’s role in Scottish traditional music.  

Emma took part in the Hands up for Trad. Distil residential course in 2015 the result of which was a composition for solo viola and string quintet. The piece was Talisker Bay and was performed live at  The Tolbooth, Stirling by Paul Livingston (solo viola) and Mr McFall’s Chamber.

Emma received viola lessons from Alex Robertson (RNCM, founding member of the Brodsky Quartet) and she attended the prestigious solo and chamber music course, Lake District Summer Music, for 3 summers where she was tutored by violists Garfield Jackson (RAM), Yuko Inoue (RAM); and string quartet workshops with The Chilingirian Quartet, The Kuss Quartet and The Skampa Quartet.  

Emma holds a MRes in Music and a BSc 2:1 (hons) degree in Music and Psycology.