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This Q&A appears in the recently-published, first edition of Encore: The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra magazine.

Get to know MSO Concertmaster, Sophie Rowell, as she tackles this fast-paced Q&A.


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
On my mother’s kitchen veranda, the table laden with all the good things in life, the birds singing in the garden and we’re in the middle of a very competitive card game.

What is your greatest fear?

Which living person do you most admire?
[Former German Chancellor] Angela Merkel.

What is your greatest extravagance?
My shared wine storage unit.

What is your current state of mind?
Hopeful and optimistic that the world is about to smile again.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Temperance. I’m not very good at it.

On what occasion do you lie?
When the doctor asks me how many standard drinks I have a week.

What are the qualities you most like in a person?
Warmth and generosity.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Perhaps we could consider…

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
My dog Arthur.

When and where were you happiest?
I like Melbourne. I’m very happy here.

Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to swim like a fish – I’m a dead weight in the water.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being the Concertmaster of the MSO with my dear friend Dale Barltrop.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Definitely a doted-on dog.

What is your most treasured possession?
My violin.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My determination.

What do you most value in your friends?
That they accept me, warts and all, and that they make me laugh.

What are your favourite names?
I need 20 more dogs so I can use them all – Ivy, Maeve, Audrey, Daphne, George. Should I keep going?

What is it that you most dislike?
I’m very uncomfortable with the feeling of tension in the room. I want to run away.

How would you like to die?
In my sleep, and with a tidy house.

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