Lionel Tertis

(Lionel Tertis washing his car - an MG)

Born, WestHartlepool, Dec. 29, 1876

Died, Feb. 1975 (at the age of 98)

Tertis studied at Leipzig and the R.A.M. in London on violin. It wasn't until his teacher and mentor, Sir Alexander Mackenzie required a violist for quartet work, that Tertis started playing the instrument. His natural musical gifts allowed to pick up the viola easily and he soon became increadibly distinguished on it. Tertis toured Europe and America preforming the scant amount of reperatoire avalible. Through his amazing talent as a player and his friendly, outgoing personality, Tertis managed to get contemporary composers to write works for the viola. This is especially true of English composers, like Sir William Walton and Ralph Vaughn Williams.

He continued his solo career until 1937, when he announced his retirement and devoted himself to teaching. His retirement ended, when by popular demand, he appeared in wartime concerts and fundraisers. Also, he never shied away from an opportunity to raise the public's awarness of his beloved instrument.

Music was not Tertis' only tallent, however. He wrote many articles for journals and news papers on a variety of topics. He dabbled in instrument design and arranged many works to suit his own nature. His semi-autobiographical book, My Viola and I, sums up his feelings about life, music, and the viola in a delightful fashion.

Occasionally, some of his musical and literary iniatives may have been critizied, but never was his sincerity or him aims brought into question.

Lionel Tertis Links

Sadly, there are no Tertis links at this time. Please let me know if there are any that should be added here.

Return to the Notable Violists Page.