Arlene Macfarlane

ARTFORMS: Music , Trombone



From West Lothian, Arlene began playing the trombone at 11 and hasn’t looked back since. She joined a local brass band and in 1996 joined the brass department of the Junior RSAMD.  She was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland for four years.

Arlene went on to study music at the RSAMD, Glasgow.  She graduated with a first, passed the Postgraduate Diploma in Performance with distinction and continued on to study for a Masters Degree in Performance, which she also gained with distinction.

Arlene has distinguished herself further by winning several prestigious competitions. As part of a brass quintet, she won the Mary D Adams Chamber Music Prize in 2003 and an MBF Ensemble Award in 2005. As a soloist, her prizes and awards include the 2003 Governor’s Recital Prize for Brass, the Robert Crief Memorial Prize for Brass and the prestigious Charles Leggett Award in 2004, which is competed for annually by the best brass players from all the UK conservatoires.

Arlene has worked with most of the leading Scottish orchestras and has appeared as a soloist on several occasions.  She is a founding member of Thistle Brass which is fast making a name for itself as one of Scotland's most exciting and innovative young chamber ensembles. 

Arlene achieved all of this playing the trombone her parents bought her when she was 12. For further information, see

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award bought Arlene a performance quality trombone.

Since the Award

Since receiving her Award Arlene has toured Texas, Washington, Lithuania, Germany, Cayman Islands and Holland. With Thistle Brass she released a debut CD in 2008 and now has a busy schedule of concerts and workshops. Arlene writes that "my instrument now works with me rather than against me. I now know what works best and what doesn't. Having the freedom and flexibility to make subtle changes makes a real difference. Certain technical things on the trombone are now easier to achieve with a high quality instrument."

Having the Award will now allow me to buy the best trombone on the market that I will use for the rest of my career. It is a very exciting prospect