On the occasion of a student concert during my viola studies at the Academy of Music in Munich with Franz Beyer (1922-2018) he surprised us, his students, with an own special “concert” playing on his viola d’amore. This was the proverbial love for the first sight for me: I held my first own Viola d’amore in the hands shortly, later named Donald Duck by my children. I studied with Franz Beyer not only viola but viola d’amore. During the International Viola d’amore Congress in Stuttgart I joined the Viola d’amore Society of America spontaneous and got a contact to Dorothea Jappe. Later I attended a course by Dorothea to learn the art of Scordatura; there was the possibility for meeting with other viola d’amore friends. Over time I participated in several International Viola d’amore Congresses and grow into the Society gradually. In the fall 2013 I founded together with 11 interested collegues the International Viola d’amore Society e.V.; they elected me as the first President of this Society.
After my studies of musicology (doctorate) and private studies of violin and viola with Prof. Gusztav Mikulai, Bonn, I spent nearly my whole professional life as an orchestra musician, partly with contracts with symphony orchestras in the greater region of Rhine-Ruhr (Essen, Hagen, Aachen, Krefeld), mostly as a free-lance. When rehearsing Janacek’s 2nd string quartet in its original version for viola d’amore (played by Gertrud Schmidt), I instantaneously fell for the instrument, acquired an Eberle copy, and enjoy playing very much since on every, too rare, occasion. Delving into the instrument, its appealing sound, its history, literature, and presentation got me into contact to the International Viola d’amore Society e.V., to which I adhere since 2017. I would like helping the Society’s aims to be realized by investing a bit of time and effort, e. g. into its presentation on the web site or by collaborating on the newsletter.
Dr. Sibylle Hoedt-Schmidt is music teacher and music geragogue at the Rheinische Musikschule of the city of Cologne. She studied pharmacy and made her doctoral thesis in pharmacology, before she started to study viola and violin with Prof. Herbert Höne in Aachen and finished her music-geragogical studies at the university of Münster. Her special interest is directed towards the viola d’amore, whose techniques of playing she studied with Günther Ojstersek. Since 2013 she is a member of the board of the International Viola d’amore Society e.V.
I studied viola with Hariolf Schlichtig in Aachen. When my husband (a flautist in the Aachen City Orchestra) purchased a traverse flute at the end of the 1990s, he tried to convince me to play the baroque viola. However, it didn’t appeal to me,as I find modern string instruments very beautiful. At some point later I bought a viola d’amore from Walter Mahr, without having the slightest understanding of this instrument, aside from the fact that there was also modern music for it. Accordingly, the first years were arduous, despite courses led by Günther Ojstersek and Marianne Rônez. Something clicked in 2014, however, when I bought two old instruments, one of them from Eberle and formerly in the possession of Michael Mann. I joined the Viola d’amore Society and served as their cash auditor for two years. I have now been asked to take over the office of treasurer. As the mother of a daughter who works as a mathematician at an accounting firm, that should work out fine.
Anita van Heers-Thomason was born in Brussels, Belgium, came to the USA as a infant and grew up in a bicultural and bilingual family. She has a Bachelor of Music in violin and teaching credentials from the University of Southern California. She has been a member of the Dallas Symphony and Opera Orchestras, the Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra, the Glendale Symphony Orchestra and the Roger Wagner Chorale Sinfonietta and has been a free lance violinist and violist in the Los Angeles area for many years. She is currently a member of the Jefferson Baroque Orchestra. She has also been a teacher for violin and viola for four decades.
Dr. Daniel Thomason is a native Californian and received his Masters degree in viola and Doctor of Musical Arts in viola d’amore from the University of Southern California. He was a viola student of Sanford Schonbach and Paul Doktor and a viola d’amore student of Milton Thomas. He is a former member of the Birmingham Alabama Symphony, the 7th US Army Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony and Opera Orchestras, the Roger Wagner Sinfonia, the Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra and for 40 years a member of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra. He is currently a member of the Rogue Valley Symphony and the Jefferson Baroque Orchestra in Oregon. While serving (1958) in the 7th US Army Symphony Orchestra in Germany Dan became fascinated with the viola d’amore and he studied with Emil Seiler. In 1977 Myron Rosenblum and he founded the Viola d’amore Society of America. He has appeared as viola and viola d’amore soloist in the USA and Europe. In addition he taught his instruments in the Los Angeles School System for over 35 years and is currently a coach for the violins and violas of the renowned Santa Monica High School Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras. Dan had published numerous original period instrument works which are editions of music for viola and viola d’amore that have been largely unknown since the 18th century. His speciality is the music of Carl Stamitz and Friedrich Wilhelm Rust.
Appointments and similar in USA and Canada, as well as international special contacts
Dr. Myron Rosenblum is a native New Yorker who studied viola with Lillian Fuchs, Walter Trampler and William Primrose and viola d’amore with Karl Stumpf. He has degrees from Queens College and New York University. Under a Fulbright Grant, he studied and researched the viola d’ amore in Vienna in 1964-1965. He has performed with many orchestras and chamber groups in the NYC area and elsewhere and has played viola d’amore with the New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, the Richmond Symphony, The Brattleboro Music Festival and others. Among the many groups he has performed with are the New York Grand Opera, the American Opera Society, Clarion Concerts, the Greenwich Quartet and Music in Our Time. Myron has written articles related to viola and viola d’amore matters and is the author of the article “Viola d’amore” in the New Grove Dictionary. He recently retired as a Professor of Music from the City University of New York and is currently involved in free-lance playing in NYC, research and the publication of music for viola, viola d’amore and chamber ensembles. Myron is Co-Founder of the Viola d’amore Society of America and was the founder and first president of the American Viola Society.