note: Excerpt of lecture presented by Donald Maurice at the 31st International
Viola Congress in Kronberg, Germany June 11, 2003]
Today’s lecture has been inspired by the story of a 19th century German
violist who in 1894 consolidated in Nelson, New Zealand, a German tradition
of string playing that was to continue until the 1940s. He had in fact been
preceded in Nelson by four years, by another German string player, Herr
As well as telling that story, I also intend to demonstrate that this violist,
Michael Balling, was ahead of the British violist, Lionel Tertis, by several
years, in establishing the viola in the UK as a solo instrument.
In 1980 I was appointed as the eighth Principal of the Nelson School of
Music in New Zealand. This school, founded in 1894, was the first music
conservatorium in Australasia. Its first Principal was the German violist
and conductor Michael Balling. After returning to Europe in 1896, Balling
was followed as Principal by two more German string players, firstly Gustav
Handke and then Julius Lemmer, who remained as Principal until 1945.
Michael Balling and the Viola-Alta
was born in Heidingsfeld, Germany in 1866, the youngest of six children,
into a poor Bavarian family. Although he was expected to become a shoemaker
on leaving school, he won entry to the Royal School of Music at Würzburg
as a singer. As a violin student of Hermann Ritter (1849-1926) (photo),
he won a viola-alta as a prize and was encouraged to take up this instrument
as a serious pursuit.
At first he resisted, fearing it would harm his violin playing but, after
following Ritter's advice and practising long slow notes for six months
he mastered the instrument and became determined to promote it widely as
being superior to the standard smaller viola. By the late 1880s he had established
himself in Germany as a viola player of some note.
The idea of a larger viola was not new, there having
been tenor and alto violas in existence since early baroque times. The Ritter
model however was specifically designed on a model described in Antonio
Bagatella's Regale peria Construzione di Violini, published in Padua in
1786. (endnote 1) Ritter believed his new version "gave
improved resonance and a more brilliant tone".
Soon after joining the viola section of the Bayreuth
Orchestra as its youngest member, Balling's abilities were noticed by the
conductor, Felix Mottl, who brought him to the front of the section, where
he was often asked to play the solos. According to the account of J. Cuthbert
Hadden, (endnote 2), this situation apparently arose
when, during a rehearsal of Tristan, a viola solo arrived and there was
silence. Balling, from his seat at the back, began to play it thus making
his orchestral solo debut.
By 1889, Ritter had five of his students playing the viola-alta in the Bayreuth
Orchestra. Balling's rapid ascent in the orchestra led on to invitations
to Wagner's house, where he became acquainted with the important musical
personalities of the day, musicians such as Hans Richter and Humperdinck.
New Zealand Harmonic Society (top)
on the opposite side of the world, in the small settlement of Nelson, New
Zealand, a vacancy had occurred for a conductor for the Harmonic Society.
terms Nelson was considered a cultured town with many professional people
also trained as instrumentalists and singers. As early as 1850 there are
mentions of musical evenings in private homes. A Mr Charles Bonnington advertised
in 1850 that he offered 'tuition in music', violin, pianoforte, singing
and dancing, as well as piano tuning and repair.
Nelson Philharmonic Society was formed in 1852 and was supported in its
concerts by local amateur musicians on flute, violin and cello. The Nelson
Philharmonic Society was short-lived being replaced only months later by
a rebel group, the Nelson Amateur Society. This entity survived until 1859
when it was noted that most of the leading members of Nelson's musical circle
"were spending more and more time on their sheep runs". (endnote
In 1860, by
which time Nelson had become a city, with a population of 5,000 the Nelson
Examiner ran an editorial on January 7 which included the following extract:
at one time a promising band of instrumental and vocal performers; and
the public cordially responded to their earlier endeavours; but their
later performances lacked variety…interest waned…For the last
year or two they have given no audible proof of continued existence.
By March of
that year the Nelson Harmonic Society was established and this group became
the central musical life-blood of Nelson through to the 20th century, having
built for itself the Harmonic Society Hall in 1867.
next two decades the new Philharmonic Society was also formed, with a more
public profile than the somewhat private activities of the Harmonic Society
and the Nelson Orchestral Society is mentioned from the 1880s onwards.
Society had, since 1890, been under the direction of the German, Herr von
Zimmerman, who had recently been touring with the Seymour-Walsh Opera Company.
He was a noted violinist and had established in Nelson, instruction in violin,
viola and cello. After Herr von Zimmerman announced his plan to return to
Germany in 1892, the Harmonic Society realised how far he had raised the
standard of the choir and decided to initiate a search for a new conductor.
resulted in an offer being made to Herr Schultz of Hamburg. By chance Michael
Balling learned from a conversation with Schultz that he had been offered
the position but was having regrets at his decision to accept. Balling is
reported to have been recovering from a recent nervous breakdown and the
idea of spending a few weeks on a ship and then recuperating in a small
town in the South Pacific must have seemed very appealing to him. He offered
to go in Schultz's place, an offer which was readily accepted.
It is not possible
to know in hindsight, what were Balling's expectations of Nelson, but it
was reported later, on his return to England that :
had been led to believe that music was in an advanced state there, but
found the reverse. He took a philosophical view of the matter, however,
and started the first school of music in New Zealand at Nelson. He was
obliged to act as principal, conductor and teacher of the various departments
which he sought to establish. (endnote 4)
On his departure
from Nelson he was reported as saying:
is not a large place, and some say it is a sleepy hollow, but I find it
can recognize the good. (endnote 5)
Arrives in New Zealand (top)
Balling arrived in Nelson from Wellington aboard the Mahinapua on 18 September,
1893. He was introduced to Nelson as:
of the Grand Opera, Schwerin, Court musician by appointment to the Grand
Duke of Mecklenburg, conductor of the Choral and Orchestral Union of Mecklenberg
and Solo Viola-Alta in the Bayreuth Orchestra. (endnote
after arriving in Nelson, Balling gave his first public recital, introducing
the viola-alta not only to Nelson, but also to New Zealand. The review in
the Colonist the next day gives a moving account of this concert, describing
the audience as:
with the performance, which was given with really dramatic power…
No one even moved, and the stillness that prevailed was a higher compliment
to the performer than were the recalls with which he was honoured at the
conclusion. (endnote 7)
It was not
long before Balling was on the attack, regaling the public for its obsession
with sporting achievement. In a letter to the Nelson Evening Mail and now
held with the archive of the Nelson School of Music minutes he wrote:
foreigner, I am singularly struck by the prominence given to 'sport' of
all kinds, even to the extent of legal protection and encouragement within
certain bounds, and while the Colonial youths go home and take prizes
in athletics against all comers our musical students must at great cost
proceed to Europe to learn even piano playing efficiently. With so much
time and energy for sport, we may resolve to reserve a little for higher
things such as music.
befriended by two of the city's well-known personalities, Mr Frederick Gibbs,
Headmaster of the Central School and Mr J.H. Cock, a shipping agent. They
were to become crucial figures in the subsequent musical development in
Nelson. Subsequently to writing the above-mentioned letter, Balling and
Cock became weatherbound in a mountain hut while on a tramping trip to Mount
Cook and it is apparently here that the idea for a small scale German-styled
Conservatorium of Music in Nelson was born.
With Mr Cock
as the driving force, a public meeting was called on February 27, 1894 and
Balling's vision was outlined and supported enthusiastically by the Mayor,
Mr Trask, who commented on the very large turnout at the meeting. The school
was officially opened on 8 June, 1894.
that occasion was Mr Joynt who had this to say about the very wet evening:
could not be said that the elements were smiling on the enterprise, but
it was quite possible that at some future date someone might remark -
speaking of the opening of the School of Music - that at its first building,
the rain descended, and the floods came and beat upon that building, but
they failed to move it because it was founded upon a rock. (endnote
the school open, a short recital was given by Michael Balling, Miss Dugdale
and Mrs Houlker. The programme included Balling playing his own Fantasia
for viola-alta, Miss Dugdale playing a piano solo by Archer, a Moskowski
piano duo played by Herr Balling and Miss Dugdale, and all three teachers
performing the Cradle Song of the Virgin by Brahms.
Influence on the Musical Life in Nelson (top)
the rapid development of the educational activity, the years 1894 and 95
were filled with many concerts, in which Michael Balling was conductor,
soloist, chamber musician or organiser. Most of the concerts and lectures
of Balling received enthusiastic reports both in the newspapers and anecdotally.
One activity, for which he is best remembered, is his series of lectures
on Wagner which, according to those who remember it, "had the solemnity
of a prayer meeting". Such was the popularity of these lectures that
he was encouraged to form a Wagner Society in 1895, on the anniversary of
the composer's death. This society had an unexpectedly short life, surviving
only one meeting. According to one account:
of those present who, not understanding Balling's intensity of feeling
for Wagner, gently ridiculed it in his presence. Not another meeting was
held. (endnote 9)
It is reported
that Balling lectured and performed to packed halls and that the numbers
rose to such an extent that they had to transfer concerts to the theatre.
Accounts of his successes were being reported in England.
By the end
of 1895, Balling was increasingly feeling the need to return to Europe and
resume his professional career, presumably having recovered from his breakdown.
He had built the school up in a remarkably short space of time to a roll
of 68 by the end its first year - almost 1% of the total population of 7,000
on Balling's activities back in Europe, mention must be made of his activities
in New Zealand, beyond Nelson. He toured with the English organist and choirmaster
Maughan Barnett and with Alfred Hill, then a young composer. His most remarkable
venture though must surely be his visit to the heavily-forested Urewera
mountain range, which must have involved some fairly serious tramping. In
the obituary notice in the Bayreuther Festspielführer, Dr Werner Kulz
refers to this trip as "an excursion into the jungle". In John
Thomson's article From Bayreuth to the Ureweras he relates the following
Ureweras were still a Maori stronghold and particularly difficult for
a European to penetrate. He succeeded in charming his way into the hearts
of his Maori listeners through the force of his personality, being entertained
as a royal visitor and showered with valuable presents. Balling later
spoke highly of Maori music, especially of the traditional waiata. He
had witnessed funeral rites and haka and on some such ceremonial occasion
had played viola solos for a chief who had presented him with a carved
stick (probably a tokotoko) inlaid with Paua shell. (endnote
of Balling's time in Nelson, recorded in London by J. Cuthbert Hadden deserve
a mention, not because of its accuracy but rather as an example of how inaccuracies
can quickly become the perceived truth. Hadden tells us that Balling went
to New Zealand specifically to set up a College of Music, but as we know,
this was not the case. The most extraordinary part of his account is that
of the journey of Ballling to New Zealand. He would have it that Balling
had booked his passage on the Wairarapa, but at the request of the Austrian
consul, delayed his passage two days. The Wairarapa subsequently sank and
according to Hadden, on arrival in Auckland, Balling read his name among
the list of the 300 dead passengers. In reality, at the time of this incident,
Balling had already been in Nelson for one year.
reports that Balling, on arriving in Nelson was expected to play piano duets
with a Mrs Johannsen, who, finding that he was not a pianist shelved him
entirely. This doesn't seem to add up with the fact that he performed a
Moskowski piano duet in the School's opening concert with Miss Dugdale.
Amusingly, Hadden refers to the School's piano teacher as Miss Dogtail.
Furthermore the programme included a piano solo by Balling of his own arrangement
of Wagner's Fantasia on a Movement of Valkyrie. He also refers to Nelson's
population of 15,000 when it was actually 7,000. Of Balling's venture into
the Ureweras he describes the Wanganui river as "The Rhine of New Zealand"
and describes how at a "Court festival he played viola solos for the
Maori King". One hopes that his account of Balling back in Europe was
written with more attention to accuracy.
of Michael Balling thus far acts as an introduction to three quite different
The first story
is about the subsequent influence, at the Nelson School of Music, of the
two German principals who followed. This story has already been well documented
in Response to a Vision, The first hundred years of the Nelson School of
Music, compiled by Shirley Tunnicliffe and in the MA Thesis of Rochelle
Gebbie, entitled A musical revolution in Nelson: the German directors of
the Nelson School of Music 1894-1944.
story is about the rest of Balling's life and career, which was spent principally
as a conductor in England and Germany. This has also been reasonably well
documented, though in a rather scattered kind of way. This biography has
also been well revealed in Rochelle Gebbie's thesis and we must look forward
to her publishing this story. Of that particular story it should be noted
that Balling enjoyed a long residency as conductor of the Halle Orchestra
in Manchester, before eventually returning to Germany where he became conductor
of the Bayreuth Orchestra, where he had begun his career at the back of
the viola section.
The third story
is that of Balling's role in establishing the viola as a solo instrument
in Europe, prior to the emergence of the legendary British violist Lionel
Tertis. It is this story which will now be explored.
Return to Europe (top)
By late 1895,
Balling was feeling the urgent need to return to Europe to renew his campaign
to promote the viola-alta. Just before departing New Zealand, he gave a
farewell concert in Nelson on February 3 with pianist Maugham Barnett. Two
days later he performed at Thomas Hall in Wellington works by Ritter and
Rubinstein. In his second Thomas Hall concert on February 7, he performed
works by Nardini, Balling, Schumann and Beethoven. He was also joined on
this occasion by violinist Alfred Hill to perform two movements from a Beethoven
Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello.
- Concert with Michael Balling, Alfred Hill and Maugham Barnett
at Thomas' Hall, Wellington. 7 February, 1896 (endnote
had already introduced the viola-alta to London ten years earlier in 1886
and this was reported in the Musical Times in January of that year with
the remark that the instrument was "fast superseding the old viola
in Germany". At this time Lionel Tertis was just five years old. Nevertheless
it was in London where Balling decided to make his grand appearance in 1896.
The Musical Courier advertised in its October issue prior to his 1896 concert
which excited the admiration of Wagner and Rubinstein, will be played
by its greatest exponent at Queen's Hall next Wednesday afternoon. The
opportunity for musicians to hear this comparatively unknown instrument
will be improved, and we may look for a rare treat.
fact gave three consecutive Wednesday afternoon concerts in the Queen's
Hall on October 28, November 4 and November 11, 1896. These concerts were
presented in association with pianist Carl Weber, vocalists Miss Large and
Mlle de André, and accompanist Signor Tramezzani. The programmes
followed the format of viola solos interspersed with songs and piano solos.
Viola solos included Nardini's Sonata for viola-alta and piano, Ritter's
Italian Suite, Balling's own solo work, a Sarabande, Air and Gavotte by
J.S. Bach and various works by Ritter, Vieuxtemps and Mayer-Olbersleben.
- Programme of Michael Balling' Second Queen's Hall recital
London. November 4, 1896 (endnote 12)
Of the Queen's
Hall recitals, the Standard reported:
are the advantages in many points possessed by the viola-alta, that it
is somewhat surprising that the instrument, which had gained the approval
of Wagner, Liszt, and Rubinstein, and was used in the orchestra at the
first Bayreuth Festival, should not have come into general use in this
country. As a solo instrument its merits are undoubted, and it could have,
apparently, no better exponent than Herr Balling.
The Globe reported
register, in particular, seems capable of producing that peculiarly penetrating
and almost nasal tone which has hitherto been entirely associated with
the cello, and has indeed constituted one of its principal charms.
put things into a balanced perspective, one critic from the Manchester Guardian.
had a very different point of view: "It is merely obsolete and useless,
that is all". (endnote 13)
January 31, 1897 Balling teamed up with violinist H.H. Joachim and pianist/composer
Ernest Walker to give a concert for the Musical Society of Balliol College.
His most significant effort for the establishment of the viola-alta came
shortly after in his February, 1897 lecture to the London Branch of the
Incorporated Society of Musicians. The entire text of this lecture was printed
in the Monthly Journal in July, 1897. The following two extracts give a
good sense of the flavour and intensity of Balling's address:
a well-known fact that every new thing which is brought forward must fight
its way through all the conservatism, jealousy, suspicion, and, worst
of all, laziness which is piled up in every direction, and around everything.
Further, it has been experienced often enough, that the better new things
are, the greater appear to be the difficulties put in their way, although
their success is all the greater afterwards in spite of this.
players of the old type were greatly alarmed and hated the viola alta
and its player. They ridiculed both, but with little effect. Anyone who
has been for some time a member of one of these old-established orchestras,
as we have them in almost every town on Germany, will know what kind of
spirit exists among the players. It is pitiful how little they know outside
the knowledge of their instrument. But the worst of them are the viola
players of the old type, with very few exceptions…It was too large
and too loud.
in his lecture a section of a congratulatory letter from Wagner to Ritter
showing his support for the viola-alta.
hope that this improved and exceedingly ennobled instrument will be sent
at once to the best orchestras and be recommended to the best viola players
for their earnest attention. We must be prepared to meet with much opposition,
since the majority of our orchestral viola players, I grieve to say, do
not belong to the flourishing string instrumentalists. Enthusiastic leadership
in this pioneer work will certainly bring followers, and finally the conductors
and intendants will be obliged to encourage the good example set.
described in his lecture how the viola-alta had undergone its trial under
Hans von Bülow while conducting the orchestra of the Duke of Meiningen.
After hearing the concertmaster, Fleischer playing the solo part of Harold
in Italy on a viola-alta, he at once ordered a set for his ensemble.
Later in 1897
Balling returned to Germany. His return is colourfully portrayed in a letter
written by Cosima Wagner.
one of our most gifted outlaws Balling, a Würzburger and a Catholic,
excommunicated because he conducted some Bach choruses in his Protestant
church in Schwerin, who has made his way through India, New Zealand and
Brazil, returning home penniless has also stayed for a long time in England.
that from this time on, Balling's career took him away from viola playing
and more and more into conducting. His career as conductor of the Hallé
Orchestra in Manchester and from 1914 back in Bayreuth has been well documented
and in itself deserves a fully comprehensive biography.
was a great advocate of the viola-alta, it is clearly Michael Balling who
became the true pioneer of the instrument through his recitals and lectures.
It is ironic, however, that the public of Nelson, New Zealand most likely
heard more viola performances by Michael Balling than any one place in Europe.
His presence in London in 1896 and 1897, while brief, was indeed most likely
the first significant attempt in that country to establish the viola as
a solo instrument.
to the viola world needs to be put into perspective with some of his well-known
contemporaries. Let us consider the life span of six of these.
Michael Balling - 1866-1925
Lionel Tertis - 1876-1975
Rebecca Clarke - 1886 - 1979
Paul Hindemith - 1895-1963
William Primrose - 1903-1982
Balling and Lionel Tertis (top)
has become synonymous with the birth of modern viola playing in Britain
and indeed to the world. He was 20 years old at the time of Balling's
Queen's Hall recitals. It is difficult to imagine that he would not
have attended at least one of those concerts or at least known that
they were happening. Yet in his book, My Viola and I, he makes no mention
of the concerts, the published article or of the existence of Michael
Balling. This is particularly interesting when considering exactly what
was happening in his life at the time.
In his opening
chapter Tertis states that:
embryo fiddler…should frequently and habitually listen to the greatest
virtuosi; there is no more potent incentive. With the savings accrued
from my professional engagements as a pianist I was able to attend a few
concerts given by famous artists before entering Trinity College of Music.
that he was already a keen concert-goer by the age of sixteen (1892). In
spite of the excellent teachers at Trinity College, Tertis was determined
to study at the very famous Leipzig Conservatorium and did in fact achieve
this for a six-month period in 1895. His first real interest in the viola
was sparked while in Leipzig, when he spontaneously bought a viola for £25,
an instrument which lay in its case for some time without bridge, strings
or even a soundpost, until he sold it to a Mr Salt of Shrewsbury. At the
end of 1895 he returned to London, quite dismayed at the experience at the
of his violin teacher, Prof. Bolland, was very negative. He claimed that
during lessons he would play at one end of the very long studio and his
teacher would stay at the other end, engrossed in his stamp collection,
and paid no attention to what or how he played. His impression of his fellow
German students was even worse.
and American students were there in numbers in my time, and no love was
lost between us and the German students. Feelings were expressed not in
mere casual blows but in pitched battles. The authorities well knew of
this but never troubled to interfere.
After his brief
stay in Leipzig he returned to London and studied violin intermittently
with Hans Wessely at the Royal Academy, until the end of 1897. It was during
this time that a fellow violin student, Percy Hilder Miles suggested that
he should take up the viola. There was not a single viola student at the
Academy at that time. He was quickly a convert and stated:
I worked hard and, being dissatisfied with my teacher - who was a violinist
and knew little of the idiosyncrasies of the viola, nor indeed was there
any pedagogue worthy of the name to go to for guidance - I resolved to
continue my study by myself. I consider that I learned to play principally
through listening to virtuosi; I lost no opportunity of attending concerts
to hear great artists perform. (endnote 17)
Later in 1897
he was lent a Guadagnini viola and from that moment on he resolved:
life's works should be the establishment of the viola's rights as a solo
instrument. In those days it was the rarest thing to hear a viola solo,
the upper range of the instrument was completely unexplored. Players of
that time rarely climbed higher than the second leger line in the treble
clef! To counteract this neglect of the higher registers I resolved to
give demonstrations to show the improvement in the quality of those higher
tones that could be achieved by persistent practice in them.
It is more
than mildly surprising that a young violist with a very inquisitive mind
and hungry for inspiration was not aware of the presence in London of a
solo violist already with an international reputation as a soloist.
not only gave recitals in the prestigious halls and delivered lectures to
such bodies as the Royal Society of Musicians, but was also being published,
in English, with his crusade to establish the viola-alta, which was after
all just a big viola.
help but speculate on how things might have turned out if Lionel Tertis
had made contact with Michael Balling in 1897. One cannot help but also
speculate on the reasons why this encounter did not take place. Perhaps
there is an innocent explanation in that Tertis simply was not aware of
Balling' presence and that his interest in the viola was not yet sufficient
to lure him to the recitals of a visiting German celebrity.
should be remembered that Tertis was not very enamoured to the Germans due
to his recent stay in Leipzig. A further compounding possibility is that
Tertis, with his Jewish background had got wind of some anti-semitic sentiment
from Michael Balling. Quite apart from his obvious connection to Richard
Wagner, Cosima Wagner wrote of Balling's time in London and Paris:
told me that the number and power of the Jews there is terrifying and
that they have mixed extensively [with the population] (endnote
is of course only speculation but it is certainly possible that when Tertis
wrote his biography nearly 80 years later, that his memory of the 1890s
may have been clouded by subsequent world events. However, by way of putting
the record straight, Balling later married the widow of a well-known Jewish
conductor (endnote 20) and in fact was himself singled
out for having Jewish acquaintances, a situation that almost cost him important
it must be mentioned that Tertis, like Ritter and Balling before him, finally
settled on a viola which was larger than the standard instrument of the
nineteenth century. He designed a large viola in collaboration with Arthur
Richardson, which has since become known as the Tertis model. The difference
between Ritter's viola-alta and the Tertis model viola is a subject for
further investigation, but it is likely that the end result of both was
an instrument of improved tone, volume and projection of sound, but that
both demanded a strong physique and reasonably large limbs. In essence the
largeness of the viola-alta seems to have been in its length, whereas the
Tertis model, while being somewhat larger in length than the standard viola,
increased the air volume through enlarged lower bouts.
While it is
inconclusive whether or not Tertis was aware of Balling, it is clear that
Balling had certainly paved the way for the Tertis campaign that came some
time later in the early 1900s. The story has not yet been told adequately
in the English-speaking world of how the viola, as a solo instrument, was
pioneered in the European countries. One cannot help think that from Germany
in particular there is a story waiting to be told.
John M Thomson. From Bayreuth to the Ureweras. Essays on Music
Vol XXIII No. 2, 1990. p.157 (back)
2. Modern Musicians (London 1913). pp.255-261 (back)
3. John M Thomson. Response to a Vision. p.16
4. Musical Courier. Undated but probably October, 1896
5. Colonist. 4 February, 1896 (back)
6. John M Thomson. Response to a Vision. p.40
7. Colonist. 30 September, 1893 (back)
8. Colonist. 9 June, 1894 (back)
9. Shonadh Mann. F.G.Gibbs, his influence on the social
history of Nelson, 1890-1950 (back)
10. John M Thomson. From Bayreuth to the Ureweras.
11. John M Thomson. From Bayreuth to the Ureweras.
Essays on Music Vol XXIII No. 2, 1990. p.164 (back)
12. John M Thomson. From Bayreuth to the Ureweras.
Essays on Music Vol XXIII No. 2, 1990. p.160 (back)
13. Manchester Guardian. September 29, 1896 (back)
14. John M Thomson. From Bayreuth to the Ureweras. Essays
on Music Vol XXIII No. 2, 1990. p.163 (back)
15. Lionel Tertis. My Viola and I. p.9 (back)
16. Lionel Tertis. My Viola and I. p.13 (back)
17. Lionel Tertis. My Viola and I. p.16 (back)
18. Lionel Tertis. My Viola and I. p.17 (back)
19. John M Thomson. From Bayreuth to the Ureweras. Essays
on Music Vol XXIII No. 2, 1990. p.165 (back)
20. Rochelle Gebbie. A Musical Revolution in Nelson.
MA Thesis. p. 63 (back)
(New Zealand) 30/09/1893; 09/06/1894; 04/02/1896
A Musical Revolution in Nelson: The Directors of the Nelson School of
Music 1894-1944. MA thesis. University of Auckland
"Nachruf auf Michael Balling". Bayreuther Festspielführer.
Guardian. September 9, 1896
"F.G.Gibbs, His Influence on the Social History of Nelson" 1890-1950.
Musicians. London 1913 pp. 255-261
Courier. October, 1896
of Music Trust Board - Minutes of meetings 1893-96
My Viola and I. Kahn & Averill. ISBN: 187108220X. 1991
M. "Response to a Vision". Nelson School of Music/John McIndoe.
ISBN 0 473 02689 9. 1994
M. "From Bayreuth to the Ureweras". Essays on Music 23.
the Author (top)
Born in Nelson,
Donald Maurice didn't begin his musical studies until moving
to Christchurch at age eleven. In addition to his first violin lessons,
he took up the Banjo, supporting himself by playing in a dixie band from
the age of fifteen. His first violin teacher was Lois MacDonald. After taking
up the viola, he learned from Elizabeth Rogers. At age nineteen, he made
the decision to go to London to further his studies. Initially, a job as
a truck driver in Christchurch financed his airfare, his fees at the Guildhall
and a few months worth of living expenses. In the U.K., his teachers included
Nannie Jamieson at the Guildhall school of Music and Max Rostal at the Aldeburgh
Festival. He later travelled to North America to study with Donald McInnes
in Washington and with William Primrose in Banff.
Maurice established a significant free-lance career in Europe,playing with
major orchestras including the Bournemouth Symphony, the London Mozart Players,
the Belfast Symphony Orchestra (as principal viola), Ballet Rambert, The
Berne Baroque Orchestra, Sadlers Wells and numerous touring ballets. During
this time he also taught viola at Cambridge University.
He has played with all of the major orchestras in New Zealand and has toured
extensively as a chamber musician in the capacity of both a violist and
a violinist. In 1995, he gave the premiere performance of the Anthony Ritchie
viola concerto with the Dunedin Sinfonia.
He has a special academic interest in the music of Bela Bartok. His revision
of the Viola Concerto has attracted international attention and has earned
him invitations to give seminars in Switzerland, the United States and Australia.
In 1997, he was awarded a PhD by the University of Otago for his dissertation
on this work.
More recently, he was instrumental in bringing the International Viola Congress
to Wellington. He has been invited to become a member of the presidency
of the International Viola Society. He is currently an Associate Professor
at the Conservatorium of Music at Massey University in Wellington and enjoys
a busy teaching schedule.