Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was the dominant figure of German opera in the 19th century. His art and writings had an enormous impact on music, opera, theatre, design, painting, literature, politics and philosophy that still reverberates today. There is an annual festival at Bayreuth in Bavaria in the Festival Theatre designed by Wagner for the performance of his music dramas (and those of other selected composers!) . It opened in 1876 with the premiere of Der Ring des Nibelungen as a complete cycle.

The Society and Aims

The Society’s aim is to promote the knowledge and appreciation of the life & works of Richard Wagner.

The Wagner Society of Scotland was founded in 1984 under Derek Watson’s chairmanship.  After Derek’s retiral in 2013, a new Committee was elected with Dale Bilsland as Chair, serving until 2017 when Derek Williams was elected.

Our patron is Edinburgh-born, internationally renowned conductor Sir Donald Runnicles OBE, HonFRSE; honorary members are Richard Armstrong CBE, Lady Veronica Gibson, Linda Esther Gray, Sir Brian McMaster CBE and John Wallace CBE.

The Wagner Society of Scotland is one of some 130 societies worldwide affiliated to the International Richard Wagner Society. You can visit their website at:

We hold meetings monthly from September to June/July and a residential study course in the summer.  Meetings are generally held on Sundays at 6.30pm at the Edinburgh Society of Musicians, 3 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3BL. See events page for current programme.

We welcome guests to our talks, and offer substantial discounts should you decide to become a member.  Students are eligible for free membership and attendance at the talks.

Please have a browse through the site, and we very much look forward to welcoming you to one of our upcoming events!

Programme of meetings

We hold meetings monthly from September to June/July and a residential study course in the summer. Meetings are held on Sundays at 7.30pm at the Edinburgh Society of Musicians, 3 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3BL.

Our current programme can be seen by clicking the document at the foot of this page and more detail on the next few meetings by clicking the events tab

Selected highlights of past programmes can be seen by clicking the past highlights drop down on the events tab

Study Courses

We hold a residential weekend summer course each year studying one of Wagner’s operas in more detail. You can find more details about the courses here.


We issue around four Newsletters per year. These can be viewed by clicking the newsletter tab.


We have issued four volumes of a scholarly Journal since 2003 and a Bulletin in 2103. You can read about these publications and how to obtain copies here.

Bayreuth Scholarship Fund

Over the years we have built up a Fund to enable a young person involved in music or theatre to attend the Bayreuth Festival. More details about the scholarship, past winners, eligibility and how to apply can be found here

Current Committee and Constitution

The Wagner Society of Scotland is registered as a Scottish Charity number SCO2820. It is run by a Committee and governed by a Constitution which you can see by clicking on the document below

Current Committee:

Chair and Website Manager:  Derek Williams

Secretary:  John Anderton

Treasurer & Membership Secretary: Ian McLennan

Newsletter Editor:  Maureen McLennan

Bayreuth Scholarship:  Dale Bilsland (Member)

Bayreuth Tickets:  Derek Williams (Chair)

Gartmore:  Dale Bilsland

Gartmore:  Brenda Nesbitt (Member)

Catering Supervisor:  Christine Proudfoot

Catering:  Ina Stewart Member (Member)

Tim Gould (Member)

Contact details of office bearers can be seen at the foot of this page

Suggestions for improvements from members are always welcome and should be sent to the Chair and/or Secretary.