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South African violinist Ian Watson obtained an MMus at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2008, enabled by an RSM International Scholarship. Prior to this, he obtained a BMus (Hons) from the University of Stellenbosch and was appointed Co-Principal 2nd Violin with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, at the age of 21.


After graduating in Scotland, Ian formed a duo with celebrated guitarist-composer, Marek Pasieczny. This collaboration lead to invitations to Italy, Japan, South Africa and Poland, where they subsequently became Laureate of the Nowa Tradycja Competition in Warsaw, 2008.

dante quartet


Ian joined the Royal Northern Sinfonia in 2010, under the direction of Thomas Zehetmair. Two years later he was appointed Principal 1st Violin of the Hallé Orchestra, under Sir Mark Elder. Highlights from this period include Parsifal at the BBC Proms (2013) and a number of tours within Europe, China and South America.


Since leaving the Hallé in 2015, Ian has enjoyed a varied career as a guest Principal 2nd Violin and Co-Leader with some of Britain’s major orchestras and chamber ensembles, including the Royal Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, BBC SSO, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Manchester Collective, Scottish Ensemble and the Hague Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared as a guest leader of both the KZN Philharmonic and the Cape Philharmonic Orchestras (RSA) and regularly leads/directs the Northern Chamber Orchestra.


Ian plays in the first violin section of the Aurora Orchestra, which has earned international recognition for performing ambitious and large-scale symphonic works entirely from memory.


In 2019 he joined the renowned Dante String Quartet. He lives in Chester with his wife and two children.

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