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Honorary Membership

The British Viola Society has awarded Honorary Membership to the following violists in recognition of their contribution to the  viola community.

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PATRICK IRELAND

Patrick Ireland, violist and founder member of the Allegri String Quartet, was awarded Honorary Membership in celebration of  his 90th birthday in November 2013.

Patrick  initially studied  the violin with Max Rostal and was largely self taught as a viola player. As well as playing with  the Allegri quartet, he  also taught at the Menuhin school when it first opened.  His recordings for Radio 3 in the 1960s with his wife, pianist Peggy Gray, include a wonderful Schubert Arpeggione Sonata, which sounds way ahead of its time, stylistically. He later played  2nd viola in quintets with many of the best English quartets of the day, including the Lindsay’s.

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DR. MICHAEL VIDULICH, Q.S.M.

Dr Michael Vidulich, Q.S.M. works for the New Zealand Ministry of Education as Director of the Auckland Itinerant Music Service. He is the violist with the Auckland City String Quartet, Auckland Chamber Ensemble and is principal viola with the Auckland Chamber Orchestra and Waitakere City Orchestra. Dr Vidulich is also a composer, music arranger, music adjudicator, conductor and often performs as a viola soloist with numerous community orchestras.

He studied viola with Sanford Schoenbach, William Primrose and Pamela Goldsmith, composition with Byong-yon Kim, conducting with Seiji Ozawa and chamber music with Dominick DiSarro. He holds a doctorate in music education, a masters degree in music performance and music education, two bachelors degrees (history and music) and an advanced diploma in teaching. Dr Vidulich was a UNESCO scholar and has been made a Fellow of the International Biographical Association, UK (FIBA) and is an Associate of the Institute of Registered Music Teachers, NZ (AIRMT). In 2008 he was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal (Q.S.M.) of the Queen’s Service Order by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music.

Dr Vidulich served for two terms as President of the International Viola Society (2005-2007 & 2008-2010) and has been awarded both an IVS Special Award and the IVS Silver Alto Clef for services to the viola.

Honorary Membership of the BVS  was awarded in 2013 in recognition of these services.

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FRANK STILES

Frank Stiles, viola player and composer, was awarded Honorary Membership in celebration of  his 90th birthday on 2nd April 2014.

Frank played in several international orchestras as a member and soloist. He composed extensively including symphonies, concertos and solo and chamber works for the viola and a clarinet concerto. Frank was an Executive of the Composer’s Guild and Chairman of the Association of British Music. He has a great interest in the education of young instrumentalists and continues to be invited to contribute to local  educational events.

For a detailed biography and list of Franks’ compositions, given with the kind  permission of  Dr David C F Wright, click here

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TULLY POTTER

Tully Potter has been a professional journalist for more than 50 years and has written with passion about the viola and great violists. He has written for various international musical journals, notably The Strad, and for 11 years he edited the quarterly magazine Classic Record Collector. He has made a special study of performing practice as revealed in historic recordings, especially of vocal, string and chamber music, and has given illustrated talks in many countries.

Honorary Membership of the BVS was awarded during the 2014 Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition in recognition of these services.

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NICOLA GRUNBERG

Nicola has performed extensively as soloist, chamber musician and accompanist, appearing in all major venues in London and throughout the UK. She was married to the distinguished violist Cecil Aronowitz with whom she had a busy duo, performing at Concert Societies throughout the British Isles and broadcasting frequently for the BBC.  They also performed as the Pro Arte Ensemble with Thea King, clarinet, and Terence Weil, cello.  In 1976 Cecil and Nicola gave the first British performance of Shostakovich’s last work, the Sonata for Viola and Piano, at the Aldeburgh Festival in the presence of the composer’s widow.

After Cecil’s death Nicola continued her career as freelance musician. For several years she worked as official accompanist at the Britten-Pears School, the Mayer-Lismann Opera Centre in London, Stowe Opera, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as well as for competitions, auditions, exams and diplomas.  For many years she taught at the Purcell School of Music in London, and privately has taught at all levels from beginners to diploma standard. She now lives in Brighton.

Nicola provided the necessary support and guidance to develop the first Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition and was also a member of the 2014 Jury.  Honorary Membership of the Society was awarded in recognition of this service.

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THOMAS RIEBL

Thomas Riebl has won prizes at international competitions such as Munich and Budapest, and in 1982 won first prize at the International Naumburg Competition in New York where he also received the Ernst-Wallfisch-Memorial-Award.

He has appeared at venues such as the Goldener Saal of the Wiener Musikverein, the Carnegie Hall and the Concertgebow Amsterdam, with leading orchestras including the Chicago and Vienna Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony and Finish Radio Symphony Orchestra, with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Horst Stein, Edo de Waart, Andrew Davies and Sylvain Cambreling.

From 1972 – 1979 he was a member of the Franz-Schubert-Quartett, Vienna (first prize at the competition of the European broadcast corporations in Stockholm in 1974); subsequently he became a founder member of the Vienna String Sextet (1979 – 2004). He has recorded several CDs for EMI, RCA, Hyperion and pan classics.

Since 1983, Thomas Riebl has been a professor at the University Mozarteum Salzburg. He is also a visiting tutor at the RNCM in Manchester and has given numerous master classes worldwide. Many of his students have won international competitions and became professors at music universities or members of leading orchestras and string quartets.

Thomas was a member of the Jury for the first Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition, 2014.  Honorary Membership of the Society was awarded in recognition of this and other services.

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ADAM ROMER

Hungarian violist Adam Römer started his musical studies at the age of five.

He has worked as a professional orchestral musician in Germany, Canada, and the UK for the past 8 years, as an orchestra member, and as a chairman of audition panels

Following sojourns as Principal with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Berlin Radio Orchestra Adam

was appointed principal violist with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in March 2009.

Adam has been playing chamber music passionately since his early childhood, performing with his piano trio, and various string ensembles in Hungary, Canada, Germany and in the UK.  He is a member of the Innovation Chamber ensemble (Birmingham), Dohnanyi Trio Berlin, Salomon string quartet – London, and Den Haag piano quintet and has also participated in music productions such as: Andrea Molinos’s multimedia project “the Fainted Voices” in Italy, which included live electronics and improvisation.

Adam was a member of the Jury for the first Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition, 2014. Honorary Membership of the Society was awarded in recognition of this and other services.

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SIMON ROWLAND-JONES

Simon was founder violist of the Chilingirian Quartet, in which he played for  ten years, and he has also performed with many other leading chamber groups, including the Nash Ensemble. As a soloist he made a highly acclaimed Carnegie Hall début in 1979, and has since given many recitals and made a number of solo recordings. His CDs, on the Meridian and Etcetera labels, include the first-ever complete version of the Bach Cello Suites on viola. Peters Edition published his own viola transcription of the suites shortly after the recording was made.

After editing the Bach, Simon went on to make a new critical/performing edition of the Haydn String Quartets, also for Peters Edition. He has, from a very early age, been a composer to and now spends an ever-increasing part of his life writing chamber music, including three string quartets, a string trio, a piano quartet and ‘A Turn Outside’, a musical adaptation of a play by Stevie Smith commissioned by Dame Josephine Barstow Simon teaches viola and chamber music at the RCM and is also a co-director of the North Norfolk Music Festival.

Simon was a member of the Jury for the first Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition, 2014. Honorary Membership of the Society was awarded in recognition of this and other services.

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ERIC RYCROFT

Eric has enjoyed a remarkable career as a performer (professional soloist, recording artist, principal orchestral player and chamber music artist), teacher and conductor. He was a senior member of staff at the Conservatoire, University of Stellenbosch for 30 years, half that time as an Associate Professor.  In 1995 he was also appointed principal Conductor and Music Director of the National Chamber Orchestra.

He studied at the University of Cape Town and at the Royal College of Music, London.  He also received lessons from Dorothy Delay, Yehudi Menuhin and Lionel Tertis. He has performed in the United States , Canada , Europe, Britain and South Africa .

As a committed professional chamber music artist, Eric founded the University of Stellenbosch String Ensemble (1977) and the University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra (1981).  He has conducted and performed as a soloist with all if the professional orchestras in South Africa.  In 2003 he moved to Pretoria, where he was appointed conductor of the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra.

He has remains totally committed to his chosen art form and continues to conduct, youth and professional orchestras, to examine and adjudicate on a freelance basis.

Eric was a member of the Jury for the first Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition, 2014. Honorary Membership of the Society was awarded in recognition of this and other services.

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It is with much sadness that we report that Duncan Druce, Honorary Member since 2014 in recognition of his services to viola performance and repertoire, passed away on 12th October 2015.