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Mar 04, 2017

📆 4 March: Vivaldi's birthday. Did he compose viola concertos?

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born today in 1678. He didn't compose viola concertos although his viola d'amore concertos are sometimes performed on the viola.

Read more about Antonio Vivaldi viola concerto and listen to it

Continue reading "📆 4 March: Vivaldi's birthday. Did he compose viola concertos?"

Feb 23, 2017

📆 23 February: Handel's birthday. "Non-composer" of famous viola concerto

Georg Friederich Handel was born today in 1685. A viola concerto bears his name but was not actually composed by Handel, although he could have well written it.

Indeed, in some of his operas he gave the violas an important role and composed some arias with solo viola accompaniment.

Read more about Handel viola concerto and listen to it

Continue reading "📆 23 February: Handel's birthday. "Non-composer" of famous viola concerto"

Feb 22, 2017

📆 22 February: Bowen's birthday. Composer and viola player, friend with Tertis

York Bowen was born today in 1884. English pianist, composer, organist, horn and viola player. He was friend with the viola soloist pioneer Lionel Tertis and played at the piano with him.

With his viola works, Bowen helped Tertis in his efforts to make the viola become more popular.

Read more about York Bowen and listen to his music

Continue reading "📆 22 February: Bowen's birthday. Composer and viola player, friend with Tertis"

Feb 21, 2017

📆 21 February: Kalliwoda's birthday. Famous violin player who also played the viola

Johann Kalliwoda was born today in 1801. He was a Bohemian violinist, composer and conductor, Kapellmeister.

He was another famous violin player who also played the viola and composed music for it.

Continue reading "📆 21 February: Kalliwoda's birthday. Famous violin player who also played the viola"

Feb 17, 2017

📆 16 February: Urhan's birthday. First performer of Harold en Italie

Chrétien Urhan was born today in 1790. He was a French viola player, violinist and composer, the principal viola of Paris Opéra and very religious man.

Berlioz asked him to perform the viola solo in the première of Harold en Italie and Meyerbeer wrote the viola d’amore solo in the first act of Les Huguenots for him. Urhan performed Harold in Italy at the Paris Conservatoire in 1834 and several times in the following years always with great success.

Read more on Harold in Italy

Continue reading "📆 16 February: Urhan's birthday. First performer of Harold en Italie"

Feb 17, 2017

📆 17 February: Vieuxtemps's birthday. Famous violin player played the viola

Virtuoso violin player played and composed for the viola. Listen to his music

Continue reading "📆 17 February: Vieuxtemps's birthday. Famous violin player played the viola"

Feb 16, 2017

📆 15 February: Fuchs's birthday. Praised by Brahms

Composed composed orchestral works, much chamber music especially for strings, duos trios, quartets, Viola Sonata and 6 Fantasy pieces (Phantasiestücke) for viola & piano,

"Fuchs is a splendid musician; everything is so fine and so skilful, so charmingly invented, that one is always pleased".

Continue reading "📆 15 February: Fuchs's birthday. Praised by Brahms"

Feb 10, 2017

📆 9 February: Ferdinando Carulli's birthday. Virtuoso guitar player and composer

Ferdinando Carulli was born on 9 February in 1770. He was an important virtuoso guitar player who composed much chamber music for guitar, also with the viola.


Read more about Carulli and listen to his music with viola

Continue reading "📆 9 February: Ferdinando Carulli's birthday. Virtuoso guitar player and composer"

Feb 08, 2017

📆 8 February: Birthday of a (different) Hollywood star who composed a viola concerto

On a different page I mentioned the viola player William Primrose being a Hollywood Star of Recording in the Walk of Fame.

Now here is a different Hollywood Star, although he is not (yet?) in the Walk of Fame, who has to do with the viola.

John Williams was born today in 1932. He is an American pianist, composer and conductor. He is famous for having composed perhaps countless scores with the music for some of the most famous Hollywood movies, including Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, E.T., Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List and some of the Harry Potter.

Continue reading "📆 8 February: Birthday of a (different) Hollywood star who composed a viola concerto"

Feb 08, 2017

📆 8 February: A viola player is a Hollywood Star!

Today, 8 February, in 1960 the name of a viola player was included in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as a Star of Recording. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a boulevard in Los Angeles with brass stars embedded in the sidewalks, honouring achivement in the entertainment industry.

This star was William Primrose. Other classical musicians that I found included there are the opera singers Maria Callas, Enrico Caruso, Richar Crooks, the violinists Fritz Kreisler, Jasha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin and Mischa Elman, the pianists Arthur Rubinstein and Vladimir Horowitz, the composer George Gershwin, conductors Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta, just to name a few, but there are many more.
Read more about the viola Star of Recording and listen to it

Continue reading "📆 8 February: A viola player is a Hollywood Star!"

Feb 05, 2017

Valentine sheet music, for viola & instruments. Famous romantic music for a gig

String quartet & string orchestra Valentine sheet music for a special, romantic night. Famous love songs, Gershwin’s I've Got A Crush On You, Porter’s Night & Day, Presley’s Love Me Tender. Unmissable

Continue reading "Valentine sheet music, for viola & instruments. Famous romantic music for a gig"

Feb 05, 2017

Valentine music. Famous romantic classical music, for viola and all instruments

Here you'll find Valentine music for your romantic night party, to impress your partner or to play at a gig! Mp3, MIDI and printable sheet music to download

Continue reading "Valentine music. Famous romantic classical music, for viola and all instruments"

Feb 03, 2017

📆 3 February: Mendelssohn's birthday: He played viola and composed a viola sonata

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy was born today in 1809. Besides being a child prodigy pianist and composer, he played the viola well enough to play chamber music with noted musicians. He composed a Sonata in c minor for viola and piano when he was 15. He also wrote interesting parts for violists in his orchestral works, like for examples The Hebrides ouverture, one of my favourite ones.
Read more about Mendelssohn viola sonata and listen to it

Continue reading "📆 3 February: Mendelssohn's birthday: He played viola and composed a viola sonata"

Feb 03, 2017

📆 2 February: Fritz Kreisler & Jascha Heifetz Two top violinists played with a viola Hollywood star


2 top violinists who played with a viola star were born today, 2 February: Fritz Kreisler in 1875 and Jascha Heifetz in 1901. Both are considered among the top violinists of the last century, for different aspects: Kreisler for his seemingly effortless execution, Heifetz for his flawless technique. Kreisler was also a composer and composed dozens of pieces in the ‘olden style’ which he attributed to various almost unknown 18th-century composers, thus misleading many experts. Both played with the viola virtuoso William Primrose. Read more about William Primrose and listen to him play

Continue reading "📆 2 February: Fritz Kreisler & Jascha Heifetz Two top violinists played with a viola Hollywood star"

Feb 01, 2017

📆 1 February: Puccini's Manon Lescaut premièred. The famous opera features a viola solo

The opera Manon Lescaut by Giacomo Puccini was performed for the first time today, 1 February, in 1893 at La Scala opera house in Milan. It features an orchestral Intermezzo opened by a cello solo, dialoguing with a viola and a violin, concluding with the viola solo. Then the Intermezzo proceeds with the full orchestra. It is a short solo, much shorter than the one in Der Freischutz mentioned a few days ago, but very intense. This piece too is often in the list of solos at orchestra auditions for principal viola.">
Read more about Famous viola solos and listen to Manon Lescaut

Continue reading "📆 1 February: Puccini's Manon Lescaut premièred. The famous opera features a viola solo"

Jan 31, 2017

📆 31 January: Schubert's birthday. A work of his played on the viola would be otherwise almost unheard

Franz Schubert was born on 31 January 1797. He was a prolific composer in a very short life, he played the viola himself in his family string quartet. He composed a sonata for Arpeggione and piano which is usually played on the viola. Read more about Franz Schubert and listen to his music

Continue reading "📆 31 January: Schubert's birthday. A work of his played on the viola would be otherwise almost unheard"

Jan 31, 2017

📆 30 January: Quantz's birthday. Flutist-composer gives tips to a king & to violists

Johann Joachim Quantz was born on 30 January 1697. He was a famous flutist, teacher and composers of King Frederick II the Great. His most important work is a treatise on how to play the flute that also gives advice to all other instrument players, including the viola. Read what he says.

Continue reading "📆 30 January: Quantz's birthday. Flutist-composer gives tips to a king & to violists"

Jan 30, 2017

Johann Joachim Quantz and the viola

Johann Joachim Quantz, composer and flutist, author of an important treatise, mentions the viola

Continue reading "Johann Joachim Quantz and the viola"

Jan 29, 2017

📆 29 January: "Little-known" work for violin and viola performed

Today, 29 January, in 1924 Lionel Tertis performed Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante in New York with legendary violinist Fritz Kreisler. In his autobiography, Tertis says that this work was almost unknown at that time, and the only other known work for viola was Harold in Italy. Newspapers reported that the two men had performed a "practically unknown concertante of Mozart". The two musicians met three days before the concert and Kreisler composed two difficult cadenzas which Tertis had to learn by heart in two days.

Read more about Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante and listen to it

Continue reading "📆 29 January: "Little-known" work for violin and viola performed"

Jan 29, 2017

📆 28 January: Bruni's birthday. A "methodic" viola player and composer

Bartolomeo Bruni was born today in 1751. He lived in France during the revolution which he supported, and composed much viola music and in particular a Viola Method with 25 studies for advanced players, which explore the viola possibilities.

Read more about Bartolomeo Bruni and listen to his music

Continue reading "📆 28 January: Bruni's birthday. A "methodic" viola player and composer"

Jan 28, 2017

📆 28 January: Rubinstein's birthday. Top pianist performed with viola pioneer!

Arthur Rubinstein was born today in 1887. He is considered by many as one of the top virtuoso pianists of the century. He would often play in a single evening both Brahms concertos or three by Beethoven. He also spoke eight languages fluently. He performed frequently with the viola pioneer Lionel Tertis.

Both were very energetic, enjoyed a long career (Rubinstein played in public for eight decades, since he was 7) and lived over 90 years in good health. Both were ardent champions for their instruments, inspired many composers to write works for them and set a standard for their instruments.
Read more about Lionel Tertis

Continue reading "📆 28 January: Rubinstein's birthday. Top pianist performed with viola pioneer!"

Jan 27, 2017

📆 27 January: The most famous child prodigy's birthday

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born today in 1756. He played the viola himself and composed wrote some wonderful works, like the Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra and more, as well as many chamber music works featuring the viola in a prominent role.

Continue reading "📆 27 January: The most famous child prodigy's birthday"

Jan 26, 2017

📆 26 January: "Der Freischutz" with its solo viola Romanze & Aria performed at Dresden Court Theatre

Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischutz, after its première in Berlin with a huge success, was eventually performed in Dresden at the rebuilt Dresden Court Theatre making the German opera as popular as the most famous Italian operas had been until then.

In Der Freischutz there is a Romanze and Aria accompanied by an amazing solo viola all the time, something really unusual, before and after Weber. This piece is often requested at orchestra auditions for principal viola. Listen to it here.

Continue reading "📆 26 January: "Der Freischutz" with its solo viola Romanze & Aria performed at Dresden Court Theatre"

Jan 25, 2017

📆 24 January: Yuri Bashmet's birthday: virtuoso viola player and conductor

Yuri Bashmet is probably the top rated violist, the best known of famous viola players. He is famous for his technical abilities as well as for his expressive playing.

Read more and watch him playing

Continue reading "📆 24 January: Yuri Bashmet's birthday: virtuoso viola player and conductor"

Jan 25, 2017

📆 25 January: Robert Burns's birthday and the viola

Robert Burns was born today in 1759. He was a Scottish poet and is considered the national poet of Scotland. Although his name is not strictly speaking related to the viola, some of his poems that have been set to music sound great on the viola. Similarly, a lot of folk music can be played perfectly (or even better!) on the viola. See some examples here.

Continue reading "📆 25 January: Robert Burns's birthday and the viola"

Jan 23, 2017

📆 23 January: Clementi: a virtuoso pianist and music entrepreneur

A clever publisher of a great composer who played the viola, Muzio Clementi was born today in 1752. Best known to pianists as a pianist and composer, Clementi must have been a very active man. He moved from Italy to England and, in addition to his activity as a concert performer, he established a flourishing piano manufacturing company and a publishing house.

A cardinal achievement of his was the successful negotiation for publishing rights to Beethoven’s music. In 1807 Clementi signed a contract with Beethoven for five major compositions including the Rasumovsky Quartets op.59 and Coriolan Overture. He later published first editions of ten new works of Beethoven.

Quartet op.59 n.3 is an example of how Beethoven wrote for the viola, giving it the same importance given to the other instrument. In the last movement, the viola has the leading role and introduces the fugue theme.

Read more and listen to the viola in the Fugue of quartet op.59 n.3

Continue reading "📆 23 January: Clementi: a virtuoso pianist and music entrepreneur"

Jan 22, 2017

📆 22 January: "Childe Harold" father's birthday

Lord George Byron was born today in 1788. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and a leading figure of Romanticism. He travelled extensively throughout Europe and got even involved in Greece's war of independence. There he died and is considered a national hero.

His poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, published in 1812, was immediately a huge success and gave him great fame. Berlioz, who was a great admirer of Byron, took inspiration from it in composing Harold in Italy, Symphony with solo viola, after Paganini requested him to compose a concerto for viola.

Continue reading "📆 22 January: "Childe Harold" father's birthday"

Jan 21, 2017

📆 21 January: Trauermusik, music for a King, premièred

Trauermusik for viola and string orchestra, by Paul Hindemith, was premièred today in 1936. It is a short composition whose English subtitle is Music of mourning. In fact, Hindemith, composer and concert violist himself, composed it on occasion of the death of King George V of the United Kingdom and performed it in a memorial concert.

Continue reading "📆 21 January: Trauermusik, music for a King, premièred"

Jan 20, 2017

Viola Calendar! Whose birthday is today? What happened today?

Watch out for all the updates of the new Viola Calendar! Subscribe to get all the news about viola-related events, like composers and performers birthdays, premières and other.Start your day in a musical way

Continue reading "Viola Calendar! Whose birthday is today? What happened today?"

Jan 20, 2017

Viola Calendar - Whose birthday is today? What happened today?

What happened today? Search Viola Calendar for important events, composers, viola players and other people connected with the viola. Read about them and listen to them. Enjoy gorgeous viola music!

Continue reading "Viola Calendar - Whose birthday is today? What happened today?"

Dec 19, 2016

Who needs violins? Here is a gorgeous viola-only orchestra

From the International Viola Congress listen to a concert performed by an orchestra composed of violas only, with works by G. P. Telemann, G. Bizet, F. Fiore, R. Wagner, F. Mendelssohn, G. Verdi and J. Strauss.

Enjoy the concert

Continue reading "Who needs violins? Here is a gorgeous viola-only orchestra"

Dec 19, 2016

International Viola Congress Videos: New Approach workshop, viola orchestra

Watch videos of Havas New Approach workshop + gorgeous viola-only orchestra at the International Viola Congress in Cremona

Continue reading "International Viola Congress Videos: New Approach workshop, viola orchestra"

Dec 17, 2016

He is 246 and still full of energy!

Continue reading "He is 246 and still full of energy!"

Dec 17, 2016

Beethoven's biography: his music & the viola. Did you know he played it?

From Ludwig van Beethoven's biography find out what he thought of the viola, the music he wrote and played

Continue reading "Beethoven's biography: his music & the viola. Did you know he played it?"

Dec 13, 2016

Christmas Carols Mp3 files for viola, 2 violas & other instruments. All levels!

Christmas Carols Mp3 files, for viola and other instruments, with downloadable sheet music, for you to play during Christmas time

Continue reading "Christmas Carols Mp3 files for viola, 2 violas & other instruments. All levels!"

Dec 08, 2016

Viola play-along sheet music with CD. Play with your own orchestra!

Viola play-along are collections of sheet music orchestra, piano or other instruments accompaniment

Continue reading "Viola play-along sheet music with CD. Play with your own orchestra!"

Dec 05, 2016

Celebrate! Michael Kugel, virtuoso viola player, was born on 5th December

Read about one of the best viola players, virtuoso violist Michael Kugel and listen to him playing

Continue reading "Celebrate! Michael Kugel, virtuoso viola player, was born on 5th December"

Dec 03, 2016

Stamitz Viola concerto: read here, you'll love it!

Read and listen to Carl Stamitz viola concerto, a lovely piece by a virtuoso viola player, one of the best known concertos for viola. Listen to the whole work, find sheet music

Continue reading "Stamitz Viola concerto: read here, you'll love it!"

Nov 24, 2016

Beautiful Viola Peters editions 20% OFF + Free Shipping - Few days only

Peters editions for viola include famous and unusual works by J. S. Bach (suites and sonatas), Bruch's Double Concerto for clarinet and Viola, Brahms viola sonatas and sextets with 2 violas, Hummel Fantasy for Viola and Orchestra, sonatas by Eccles, Vieuxtemps, several viola concertos, cadenzas, Campagnoli's 41 Caprices Op. 22 for Solo Viola as well as a lot of chamber music like Beethoven's Duet "with 2 obligato Eyeglasses", Mozart Kegelstatt trio

and much more.

On top of Peters editions discount, you can get a 15% discount on all other editions and items. Simply enter the code BFCM16 in the Promo Code field when you place your order. But it's not all! You can have also free shipping if you are in the USA.

All these offers are from my favourite online music shop that has a huge amount of articles, including viola play-alongs (these too are 20%off!), gift ideas like recordings, games, accessories, ...

But you have to be quick because the offer ends at 11:59pm on Monday November 28, 2016.

You can read about these works on the website.

Click the link to get your discount

Continue reading "Beautiful Viola Peters editions 20% OFF + Free Shipping - Few days only"

Nov 23, 2016

Treatise on instrumentation and orchestration by Hector Berlioz

Read what Berlioz writes about the viola in his Treatise on instrumentation and orchestration, the first and most important work of this kind.

Continue reading "Treatise on instrumentation and orchestration by Hector Berlioz"

Nov 22, 2016

Saint Cecilia, patron of musicians, played the viola?

Today is Saint Cecilia, the saint celebrated as patron of musicians. Find out why and who she was

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Nov 17, 2016

Beautiful Viola Baerenreiter editions 20% OFF - One week only

Baerenreiter editions for viola include works by J. S. Bach, Telemann, Mozart, Berlioz, Schubert, Martinu, Vanhal, the wonderful quartet From My Life by Bedrich Smetana and many more, collections of solos for viola and piano of various genres and difficulty, as well as scales and studies books.

They publish a huge number of works as "Urtext" editions, that is editions that are as much faithful as possible to the composer's intentions.

Editio Baerenreiter Praha publish music by Czech and Slovak composers, like Dvorak, Smetana, Martinu.

See them here.

Continue reading "Beautiful Viola Baerenreiter editions 20% OFF - One week only"

Nov 14, 2016

Biography of Hector Berlioz, his music and the viola

From the biography of Hector Berlioz, find out what he thought of the viola, the music he wrote and played

Continue reading "Biography of Hector Berlioz, his music and the viola"

Nov 14, 2016

Nicolò Paganini, his music and the viola. The most famous violinist loved it

From the biography of Nicolò Paganini, find out what he thought of the viola, the music he wrote and played, listen to it

Continue reading "Nicolò Paganini, his music and the viola. The most famous violinist loved it"

Nov 10, 2016

The history of the viola: famous instruments, composers, compositions, players

Read about the history of the viola: its origin, its famous makers, players, composers who loved it, played it & wrote for it. Did the viola come before the violin? Paintings, photos of ancient violas

Continue reading "The history of the viola: famous instruments, composers, compositions, players"

Nov 09, 2016

Viola bibliography, much more than viola books

Discover more about the viola, composers and music in general through this viola bibliography

Continue reading "Viola bibliography, much more than viola books"

Nov 03, 2016

Viola strings names and more

Viola strings, what are their names? Useful information, characteristics, how they are made, how to choose them

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Oct 24, 2016

Halloween music. Famous scary music for viola & all instruments. MP3, MIDI, more

Find Halloween music here for your scary night party, play a quartet with invited ghosts, impress your friends and have a lot of fun! With a simplified version. Printable, printed sheet music

Continue reading "Halloween music. Famous scary music for viola & all instruments. MP3, MIDI, more"


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