Tuesday 3 December 2013

Inspiring a future generation of viola players

Cecil Aronowitz
A new competition launches at the Birmingham Conservatoire in October 2014. Named for the 20th century British viola player and pedagogue, the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition is open to  players under the age of 21. The conservatoire hopes that the competition with raise the uptake, teaching and performance level of the viola. The first round of the competition will be judged by DVD, the semi finals and the final will be held at Birmingham Conservatoire from 24 to 26 October 2014. 

The first prize is £2,000, with special prized being awarded as well. The jury will include Louise Lansdown (head of strings at Birmingham Conservatoire), Simon Rowland-Jones, Emile Cantor, Adam Romer and Nicola Aronowitz (Cecil's widow). In fact, Lansdown now owns the viola that Aronowitz was playing at the time of his death in 1978.

Cecil Aronowitz (1916 - 1978) taught at the Royal College of Music and was the first head of strings at the Royal Northern College of Music. He collaborated on projects with the Amadeus Quartet, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. Britten wrote many of the viola parts in his works for Aronowitz and created a version of Lachrymae specially for him. Aronowitz also premiered works by Arthur Butterworth, Alan Hoddinott and Hugh Wood.

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