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Lionel Tertis (1876 - 1975)

Born on the same day as pioneering cellist Pablo Casals, Lionel Tertis was an equally significant figure in promoting the viola as a solo instrument, greatly augmenting its repertoire (which was virtually non-existent) with countless arrangements and transcriptions, and developing a projected sound that could compete with that of the violin. His mission was, of course, extremely successful and others—performers and composers—have since continued and extended his work, providing the viola with a genuine solo repertory of its own. Apart from performing and teaching, after retiring in 1937 he developed the ‘Tertis model’ of viola, designed to give the rich tonal qualities of the very large instrument (171/8 inches) he played himself, but with a more manageable size of 16¾ inches.




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