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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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ETTORE CAUSA

Italian born, Ettore Causa was awarded both the P. Schidlof Prize and the J. Barbirolli Prize for “the most beautiful sound” at the prestigious Lionel Tertis International Viola competition in England in 2000, he is praised for his exceptional artistry, passionate intelligence and complete musicianship.

He has made solo and recital appearances in major venues around the world, such as Carnegie Hall, Zurich Tonhalle, Madrid National Auditorium, Salle Cortot (Paris), Tokyo Symphony Hall, Teatro Colon, etc., and has performed at numerous international festivals, such as the Menuhin (Gstaad), Salzburg, Tivoli (Copenhagen), Prussia Cove (England), Savonlinna (Finland) Launadire (Canada) and Norfolk (USA) Festivals.

Also a devoted chamber musician, Mr. Causa is a former member of the Aria Quartet (2004–2009) and a currently member of the Poseidon Quartet, and has collaborated extensively with internationally renowned musicians such as the Tokyo and Elias String Quartets, Pascal Rogé, Boris Berman, Peter Frankl, Thomas Adès, Natalie Clein, Ana Chumachenco, Ani Kavafian, Alberto and Antonio Lysy, Liviu Prunaru, Thomas Demenga, Anthony Marwood, Ulf Wallin, William Bennett, and others.

Having studied at the International Menuhin Music Academy with Alberto Lysy and Johannes Eskar, and later at the Manhattan School of Music with Michael Tree, then having taught both viola and chamber music for many years at the International Menuhin Music Academy, Mr. Causa joined the faculty of the Yale School of Music in 2009.

His highly praised recordings include two CDs on the Claves label,  one featuring the Brahms viola sonata and the other his transcription of romantic pieces, which was awarded a prestigious 5 Diapasons by the eponymous French magazine.

Mr. Causa performs on a viola made for him by Frederic Chaudière in 2003.

Ettore was a member of the Jury for the second Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition, 2017. Honorary Membership of the Society was awarded in recognition of this and other 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 and was welcomed back to the Jury for the Competition in 2017.  Honorary Membership of the Society was awarded in recognition of this service.

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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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ROBIN IRELAND

Robin Ireland,son of Patrick Ireland,  was a student at Cambridge University and at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York. He had a short spell as leader of the Las Palmas Symphony Orchestra and subsequently became a founder member of the Piano Quartet, Domus, which toured with its own portable concert hall (a geodesic dome) as well as having great success in more conventional venues.

Robin was violist with the celebrated Lindsay String Quartet between 1985 and 2005, and with the Primrose Piano Quartet from 2007 till 2015. He now performs as a soloist and freelance chamber musician. He has broadcast as a soloist on BBC Radio 3, performed Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Liverpool Philharmonic and the London Mozart Players, and has in his repertoire most of the major works for viola. His orchestral experience includes working as guest principal viola with the CBSO, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, RLPO and Opera North.

Robin Ireland is Head of Chamber Music and Senior Viola Tutor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and also teaches on the Cadenza International Summer School and on courses at Pro Corda and La Mariette in the Loire Valley. During 2011 he was chamber music coach at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

Robin is also a composer. His String Quartet was premiered and recorded by the Lindsay String Quartet in 2005, alongside three Duos for Viola with violin, cello and a second viola. His set of 12 Viola Etudes were published by Spartan Press in 2014.

Robin has recorded CDs of unaccompanied Bach transcriptions, including the Chaconne (Quartz Records), the Shostakovich Sonata for Viola and Piano (with Tim Horton, on Nimbus) and the two Brahms Sonatas for Viola and Piano alongside Schubert’s ‘Arpeggione’ Sonata, also with Tim Horton on Nimbus. He plays on an Amati viola made in the early 1600s.

Robin was a member of the Jury for the second Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition, 2017. Honorary Membership of the Society was awarded in recognition of this and other services.

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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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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  and was welcomed back to the Jury for the Competition in 2017 . 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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THOMAS SELDITZ

Thomas Selditz, who grew up in Berlin, studied there at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule. At the tender age of 21, he won the position of solo violist in the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Five years later, Daniel Barenboim hired him to the Staatskapelle Berlin, also as the first solo violist. His already strong passion for chamber music led him to leave the renowned orchestra and in 1999 to accept a professorship at the Musikhochschule in Hanover. 
After being appointed to the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in 2004, Thomas Selditz moved to the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna in 2010 as Professor of Viola.

Since the beginning of the 90s he has performed as a founder of the ensemble Gaede Trio / later string trio Berlin in Europe, Asia and the USA. He gave up this work in the summer of 2013 and has been a member of the Vienna Musikverein several times a year as violist of the Hugo Wolf Quartet with his own cycle supported by the Alban Berg Foundation. 

With the quartet Thomas Selditz likes to move in the field of tension of great composers and contemporary music and is also committed to unusual new concert formats such as combinations of architecture and music. In the coming season, this ensemble will be accompanied by extended concert tours, including concerts at Wigmore Hall London, Carnegie Hall New York, the Theater du Châtelet / Paris.

A considerable number of CD recordings are documented by Thomas Selditz’s versatile chamber music work on the labels Audite, Tacet, Largo Records / London, SONY, CPO, MDG. Some of them received the highest honors of the trade press (eg Diapason d’Or, 2003 German Record Prize for a solo CD).

Thomas was a member of the Jury for the second Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition, 2017. Honorary Membership of the Society was awarded in recognition of this and other services.

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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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It is with much sadness that we report that Frank Stiles, Honorary Member since his 90th birthday on 2nd April 2014, passed away on 8th December 2017. Frank is remembered as a viola player and composer.

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

We also remember Duncan Druce, Honorary Member since 2014 in recognition of his services to viola performance and repertoire. Duncan passed away on 12th October 2015.