About Emma

British violist Emma Richards is based in Manchester and performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. As an undergraduate she studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Ásdís Valdimarsdottir and Simon Rowland-Jones. She has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and prizes including the Cecil Aronowitz Memorial Award and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust. Emma pursued her postgraduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main.


Emma’s primary passion is chamber music and she combines work as a guest performer with projects with her duo partner, acclaimed pianist Cordelia Williams. Upcoming concerts include Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio at the Wiltshire Music Centre and duo recitals at Malmesbury Abbey, City University, Reading University and at Kendal Midday Concert Club. She has performed with the Tippet Ensemble, the Benyounes Quartet and often with pianist Duncan Honeybourne.

Recent concerto performances include the Walton Viola Concerto with the Wiltshire and Swindon Youth Orchestra and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with the Neston Festival Orchestra. As a soloist Emma has performed at the Hindemith Tage Festival in Frankfurt-am-Main (Germany) and at the 37th International Viola Congress in Stellenbosch (South Africa). Emma has recently attended festivals such as the International Musician’s Seminar, Prussia Cove, Frühlingsakademie (Neustadt an der Weinstraße) and Dartington International Summer School.

As an orchestral musician Emma has worked with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and has recently become an extra musician with the Deutscher Kammerakademie Neuss


Emma is sought after as an interpreter of contemporary music and believes strongly in promoting the music of today. She is a founding member of Manchester-based Distractfold Ensemble and is a guest violist with two contemporary ensembles in Paris – soundinitiative and No Input Ensemble.

As a soloist, Emma is dedicated to commissioning new works alongside performing the established repertoire. Recent solo performances include Tre Notturni Brillianti by Salvatore Sciarrino, Embellie by Iannis Xenakis as well as recent solo pieces by John Croft, Mauricio Pauly, Chris Swithinbank and Andrea Sarto.

In 2014 Distractfold became the first British ensemble ever to win the prestigious Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at the Darmstadt International Festival for New Music . The coming season will take Emma to Florence, Poznan, Gdansk, Chicago, Boston, New York, Darmstadt and Pontevedra as well as to England for concerts in London, Huddersfield  and Manchester.

In 2014 Emma performed on two CDs for Another Timbre – Grizzana with Ensemble Grizzana and Pneuma with Distractfold Ensemble. 2015 brings further exciting collaborations with Another Timbre plus a summer of recording with Distractfold Ensemble.

Emma Richards and John Croft rehearsing

Health & Education

During the course of her work with the RLPO, Emma worked on the Liverpool Philharmonic’s groundbreaking In Harmony project. She has taught violin and viola privately in Manchester and Frankfurt-am-Main and is a regular chamber music coach for Super Strings Club in Wiltshire.

During her time in Liverpool, Emma worked on the Musician in Residence programme with Mersey Care NHS Trust. This initiative sends musicians from the RLPO into hospitals in and around Liverpool to visit a wide range of wards.It was these experiences which helped her to realise how important music is for people’s health, and how much difference a musician can make at such a difficult time in someone’s life.

Following this experience Emma won a European Commission grant in June 2013 to attend a course on Music in Healthcare Settings with the world renowned French organization Musique et Santé. Now in November 2014 Emma is thrilled to have joined the LIME Music for Health team for a 2 year project in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. This project aims to provide children and young people with sustained opportunities to explore, interact and create through music-making.

Emma Richards playing in a children’s hospital ward in Paris