Support the DVS – Become a Friend!

Dear viola friends,

after a relatively quiet period with a pandemic that forced us to limit our activities to low-cost online events, the Dutch Viola Society is once again reaching out to reunite violists with new and exciting LIVE events. If you are following us, you may have noticed that we already organized a couple of successful events in recent months, such as the high-profile masterclasses of Lawrence Power and Timothy Ridout. We were also present at, and contributed actively to the Britten viola competition and the 80th birthday celebration of Nobuko Imai last month.

For the coming months, we have loads of fun ideas in store, starting with the Viola Day in Dordrecht (May 29th), and more workshops and masterclasses after the summer. Organizing live events, however, implies some financial challenges. We therefore hope that you will support our cause by becoming a Friend of the DVS. For this purpose we return to the system of annual contributions / donations that we maintained up to 2019.

Being a Friend of the DVS only costs a few “tientjes” (euro tenners) per year, and in return you get a number of exclusive Friendship benefits, such as:

  • Receive free or discount access to live DVS events
  • Receive exclusive DVS discounts for concerts with top-notch violists
  • Access to members-only viola resources on the DVS website (currently still open for all), such as sheet music, catalogues, course listings, career tips, previously recorded workshops, and more.
  • Access to the DVS physical archive/library, consisting of rare old recordings and sheet music donated by friends.
  • Stay up-to-date with DVS website news, newsletters and social media
  • Your financial contribution is tax deductible (in The Netherlands)!

Only with your help can we become the best possible Viola community!

Find out how to capitalize that ‘f’ (in ‘friend’) and become a Friend – by clicking the Big Green Button below.

Thank you for your consideration!

The Board of the Dutch Viola Society

Viola Day Dordrecht 2023

Some of you may remember how the DVS was first announced 11 years ago at the Viola Festival in Dodrecht in February 2012. After more than a decade of official operation, we return to Dodrecht to celebrate our roots. In cooperation with the International Viola Academy (IVA), the DVS organizes a Viola Day in Dordrecht on Monday, May 29th 2023 (2e pinksterdag).

We are hoping for participation from all viola fans – amateurs, students and professionals – to celebrate the viola together with a full-day programme, including:

  • Masterclasses for Viola Students and Young Talents (aged 26 or younger) with viola faculty from the IVA: Marcin Murawski, Emlyn Stam and Karin Dolman.
    Selected students get a full one-hour masterclass. There are 9 spots available.
  • Viola Ensemble (open to all participants!) led by Jeppe Moulijn
    A four-part orchestra consisting entirely of VIOLAS!
    Players of all levels are welcome (amateurs, students, pros).
    We will be playing Gordon Jacob’s Suite for 8 violins (YouTube link), arranged especially for this viola ensemble with parts in varying difficulty; and possibly also a surprise composition! Sheet music will be sent in advance.
    We rehearse together and give a performance at the end of the session!
  • A Concert with contributions from DVS Delegates to the IVC 2023 in Thailand
  • Second-hand sheet music marketplace
  • Lunch and Afterparty (borrel)

For Masterclass students €50,00 *
For Ensemble playing €35 *
For Audience €30 (students €20) *
Concert ticket only €17.50 (students €7.50)
*) Rates include Lunch and Concert, and DVS Friends get additional 10% discount!
(these conditions do not apply for Concert ticket only)

10.00 Masterclasses session 1
11.15 Masterclasses session 2
11.00 Ensemble playing (for everyone)
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Masterclasses session 3
15.30 Concert
17.00 Afterparty with sale of 2nd hand sheet music

Venue: Trinitatiskapel (and auxiliary locations to be announced)
Vriesestraat 20, Dordrecht (10 minutes’ walk from Dordrecht railway station)

Are you as excited as we are? Sign up through the registration form below!

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Nobuko Imai Awarded the IVS Golden Alto Clef

Last Sunday (March 19th), viola legend and DVS honorary member Nobuko Imai celebrated her 80th birthday with a festive concert in the recital hall of Concertgebouw Amsterdam. Friends, colleagues, students and admirers (in many combinations) travelled from all over the world to be there. The recital hall had been sold out months in advance, and one literally had to search continent-wide for the very few second-hand tickets from people who ended up not being able to come.

When Nobuko first was invited to appear on stage by the well-spoken concert announcer Sven Arne Tepl, she was greeted with a loud cheer from the audience that would befit a rock star! In response, she gave an epic rendition of Schumann’s Märchenbilder, accompanied by Martijn Willers. No concessions to uninvited constraints of age or time, neither in the sweet slow movements nor in the furiously racing 3rd movement.

Next to a birthday celebration, the key concept of this concert was to bring about a reunion of Nobuko’s many students from all around the world. They were teamed up in ensembles of viola duos, trios and quartets representing Nobuko’s viola classes in Detmold, Geneva, Kronberg, Madrid and Amsterdam. Highly appreciated solistic performances were given as well by her students Veit Hertenstein, Takehiro Konoe and of course Tim Ridout.

A specially delightful “surprise”  reunion came with her former colleagues of the Michelangelo string quartet, Mihaela Martin and Frans Helmersson joining her in a Schubert trio.

After a flowery word of gratitude from the DVS chairman on behalf of the entire Dutch viola community, Nobuko was awarded the Golden Alto Clef, the highest distinction of the International Viola Society (IVS). The President of the IVS Jutta Puchhammer (flown in from Montreal) read a carefully researched summary of Nobuko’s many achievements for the viola in the most global perspective. This took a long time to summarize! Finally, IVS Vice President Karin Dolman proceeded to decorate Nobuko with this unique golden clef, which has only been awarded twice before in the 55-year history of the IVS (prof. Franz Zeyringer in 1988 and dr. David Dalton in 2013).

The celebration was capped off with a joyous rendition of Bach’s 3rd Brandenburg concerto, with a full viola orchestra on stage.

The DVS once again wishes to thank Nobuko Imai for all that she has done for the Dutch viola community throughout almost half a century of teaching and playing here, and we congratulate her with the well deserved IVS Golden Alto Clef award!

A plethora of Interviews has appeared in the press and online media on the occasion of Nobuko’s 80th birthday. Here is a selection:

17/03/2023: Dutch Viola Society (Kristofer G. Skaug)
17/03/2023: The Violin Channel (Heather Kurzbauer)
15/03/2023: Trouw (Stella Vrijmoed)
10/03/2023: NRC (Rahul Gandolahage)
… and finally this one, a very interesting in-depth interview from almost 40 years ago:
27/12/1984: Musicalifeiten (Jan de Kruijff)

Interview Nobuko Imai

The world famous violist (and DVS Honorary Member) Nobuko Imai turns 80 tomorrow. In this interview, she tells us about her teaching career and her long-standing special relationship with The Netherlands, having lived and taught here – albeit on a part time basis – for more than 40 years.

by Kristofer G. Skaug, DVS

On a brisk late-January day, we meet in her daughter’s house in Amsterdam, only a few minutes’ walk away from the Concertgebouw. We are seated in the living room with a cup of tea.

DVS: More than 5 decades of teaching Viola at the highest level. Tell us how it started, and what has kept you going.

It started in America, where I became a member of the Vermeer Quartet, named after the Dutch painter, of course. The quartet was founded by Shmuel Ashkenazy (violinist) at the Northern Illinois University near Chicago, so I started teaching there, I was about 30 years old. I stayed there for 5 years. I didn’t know much about teaching, it was “learning by doing” for me, and I liked it very much.

Later I started teaching also at the Royal (Northern) College of Music in Manchester, as well as in Utrecht and The Hague (at the Royal Conservatoire). And then I taught in Detmold, and in Amsterdam, and at the Kronberg Academy (near Frankfurt), in Madrid, and in Geneva… that’s a very short summary of my teaching career.
Unfortunately I never had a teaching position in Japan, although of course I was there frequently, performing and giving masterclasses.

DVS: Do you hear yourself quoting your own teachers when you teach?

The thing is, I always want to create something. I don’t want to repeat, there has to be something new. Even practicing scales can be done creatively. If you have a weakness, you need to work on it – but you should use your imagination to improve, to create your own scales. That’s the way, I think, avoiding routine. I always find something new, and then I get very excited. I never grew bored of teaching.

DVS: So you regard teaching as a kind of collaborative exploration?

Yes, that’s how you survive 50 years of teaching. As a violist you have to have your own sound. And the viola comes in so many different shapes and sizes, you need to find out how to best “manipulate” your own instrument. You have to investigate.

DVS: What circumstance first brought you to come and teach in The Netherlands?

Well, initially it was because I met a Dutch music lover, after the Geneva competition. He told me he had a big house in Heemstede and I would be welcome to stay there whenever I was in Amsterdam for work or leisure. So I did come, on and off, but never really lived there a long time, a few months maybe. Then eventually I got married to a Dutch man, so that was significant (laughing). But I was still commuting a lot between my different schools.

DVS: Do you see any characteristics of Dutch viola culture or music life?

In my experience, the Dutch are very international in their orientation. They are receptive to new information, and adapt well. In Japan, for example, or Germany, things are quite different in this respect.

The teaching culture at the Conservatory of Amsterdam is strong, I very much appreciate Francien (Schatborn) and Marjolein (Dispa), we’ve been cooperating and creating together. We work together without interfering, creating something bigger. It would never happen quite like this in other countries.

DVS: Are you retiring now from the Conservatory?

I will stop regular teaching in Amsterdam now because of my age, but I hope to continue doing seasonal masterclasses.

DVS: For 15 years now you have been hosting the bi-annual Amsterdam Viola Festival. Looking back, how do you feel about it and what would you hope for the future?

Last time (November 2021), the Amsterdam festival was dedicated to Hindemith, and we had a special recital consisting entirely of Hindemith and Bartók duos. It was very enjoyable getting to know the younger students at the CvA this way, we were giggling a lot (laughs). I hope there could be more programs like that in the future, involving everybody.

DVS: These Bartók duos, by the way, were also special to you.

Yes, I went to Hungary to learn about Hungarian folk music and to play with folk musicians. We ended up travelling to Japan together to play some of this music. Their rhythm and intonation takes a real effort to learn. I spent quite a lot of time with those people. Later, I thought of playing the Bartók duos on the viola. They are not hard, almost beginner level. But I didn’t transcribe them, so we play them in the original (violin) key, which makes it a bit more difficult, but keeps more of the original sound.

DVS: On Sunday (March 19th), you will celebrate your 80th birthday with a special concert in Het Concertgebouw. Tell us about this concert.

I thought it would be nice for my students to meet again, so that’s the idea behind the celebration here in Amsterdam. We will play various pieces for viola ensemble. For example we’ll play the 1st movement of Bach’s 3rd Brandenburg concerto, transcribed for a maximum number of violas. And we’ll play a viola orchestra version of Händel’s “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba“. We may have to remove the 1st row of chairs to fit everyone on stage!

Many of my students are now renowned violists in their own right. For example Timothy Ridout, whom I taught at the Kronberg Academy. He is such an open personality, he’s curious about new repertoire and always finding music in it, an inspiring role model for young people. And Diyang Mei, he’s currently the principal violist of the Berlin Philharmonic, he will fly in from Berlin on Sunday just to play the Paganini “Gran Sonata“, and then fly back the same evening. Just to name a few … it will be a great reunion! I’m looking forward to see them all, and I’m grateful that they make time to come here, even from Japan or Taiwan.

DVS: Final topic: Viola Societies! We were elated that you promptly accepted an Honorary membership of the DVS back in 2013, when we were freshly founded. How do you view the role of Viola Societies?

I first encountered a Viola Society when I was in the U.S., in a festival where female composers were highlighted. I have contributed to several International Viola Congresses since, most recently at the Rotterdam congress in 2018.

Viola Societies are meaningful to a lot of people, but it takes a lot of dedication to run them. I think the Dutch Viola Society has a particularly fruitful climate (mentioned above) to prosper.

DVS: Thank you for your time, and thank you on behalf of the Dutch viola community for all you have done! We have been so lucky to have you here all this time, and we look forward to celebrate with you in Concertgebouw on March 19th!

(P.S. Sunday’s concert (link) is completely sold out – but the DVS will be there, and we will post a report by early next week!)

Timothy Ridout Masterclass + Concertkorting

Volgende week komt de jonge Engelse altviolist Timothy Ridout naar Amsterdam. In dit verband hebben we twee leuke acties voor onze vrienden:


Op zaterdag 18/2 en zondag 19/2 speelt Timothy Ridout de beroemde Sinfonia Concertante van Mozart samen met Gordan Nikolic (viool) en het Nederlands Kamerorkest, in het Concertgebouw.
18/2, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, aanvang 20:15u
19/2, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, aanvang 14:15u
DVS-vrienden kunnen hiervoor kaartjes kopen met een aardige korting, zie hier.
Meer informatie over de concerten …


Op woensdag 15 februari geeft Ridout een openbare masterclass voor getalenteerde studenten geselecteerd door de DVS en het Conservatorium van Amsterdam.

Plaats: Sweelinckzaal, Conservatorium van Amsterdam

15:00 Connie Pharoah, Hindemith sonate op.11/4
15:45 Fiachra de hOra, Schumann, Märchenbilder op.113
16:30 pauze
16:45 Anuschka Pedano: Cesar Franck sonate
17:30 Simon Rosier: Vieuxtemps sonate in bes, 1e deel
18:15 Q&A
18:30 Einde

De deelnemers worden op de piano begeleid door de vaste pianisten van de altvioolklas van het Conservatorium, Daniel Kramer en Martijn Willers.

U bent als toehoorder van harte welkom! Toegang is gratis, maar schrijf je graag in via het aanmeldformulier op deze pagina, dan kunnen we je op de hoogte houden van bijkomende praktische informatie.

Zemtsov Masterfest 2023 in Hoeven

The renowned Zemtsov family organizes their unique yearly masterclass for viola students and advanced amateur players from all over the world in the Bovendonk Conference Center in Hoeven ( Associated with this is an extensive programme of workshops, lectures and chamber music concerts under the title “MASTERFEST 2023“, from February 27th – March 5th.

The concerts feature top artists such as Daniel Rowland (violin), Floor LeCoutre (violin), Dana Zemtsov (viola), Maya Bogdanovich (cello), Pau Codina (cello), Nicholas Schwartz (double bass), Anna Fedorova and Borys Fedorov (piano), and of course the Zemtsov Viola Quartet, plus selected students from the Masterclasses.

The full MASTERFEST programme can be found here, and  to order tickets go here.

DVS Friends can buy tickets for all the public events in this programme with a special 10% Discount. To obtain the discount code, click here.

Vinciane Béranger Concert & Masterclasses

The renowned French violist Vinciane Béranger will be in The Netherlands in the coming days to perform and give Masterclasses.

  • On Sunday Feb 12th, she performs a recital in Dordrecht together with pianist Roderigo Robles de Medina. The programme includes works by Kurtág, Schumann, Britten, Finzi, and the American composer Steven Christopher Sacco.
  • On Monday Feb.13th, she gives a Masterclass for the viola students at Codarts in Rotterdam. If you are interested in attending as audience, contact Karin Dolman at this email address.
  • On Tuesday Feb. 14th, she gives a Masterclass for the viola students at the Conservatory of Tilburg. Contact Emlyn Stam at this email address  if you want to be in the audience.

DVS & CvA Masterclass with Timothy Ridout

Next month (February 2023), the acclaimed young British violist Timothy Ridout will be in Amsterdam to perform Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Gordan Nikolic and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra (Nederlands Kamerorkest). You may recall that Ridout was one of our Featured Artists at the IVC2018 in Rotterdam, where both his playing and his inspiring masterclass session received high praise from a delighted audience.

This time, the DVS has joined forces with the Conservatory of Amsterdam to organize another high-octane Masterclass with Timothy Ridout on February 15th 2023 in the afternoon, from 15:00 – 18:00h in the Sweelinckzaal of the Conservatory of Amsterdam.


There are two ways to be a part of this event:

Participant: We have an open application process for one or two deserving students to receive a full-length masterclass (sponsored by DVS) with Timothy Ridout. You can read the official Terms and Conditions for applicants and fill in the application form here.

Audience: Attendance is free! Please register for attendance via the form below, so that we have an idea how many people will come, and can keep you up to date about the schedule and logistics of the event.

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Audience Registration Form

Yes, I want to attend the Masterclass with Timothy Ridout on February 15th, 2023!

Nameyour full name

Online lecture by Molly Gebrian on the Neuroscience of Practicing

The DVS has the pleasure to invite you to an online lecture:

“What Musicians can Learn about Practicing from Current Brain Research”

Lecturer:  Dr. Molly Gebrian
Date:  Sunday, January 15th, 2023
Time: 20:00h (Central European Time)
Place: Online (Zoom;
registered participants will receive a link)
Language:  English
Costs: Voluntary financial donation
Registration: Use form below

This presentation will focus on what neuroscientists have discovered about how our brains learn and how to apply these insights to practicing and teaching so that practicing becomes more efficient and effective, leading to enhanced performance ability, enjoyment, and confidence. Topics include: how to get rid of bad habits, how to make things automatic/reliable, the role of sleep in learning, the power of mental practicing, how to use the metronome to greatest effect, and the benefits of random practice for enhanced performance.

Dr. Molly Gebrian is a professional violist and scholar with a background in cognitive neuroscience. Her area of expertise is applying the research on learning and memory to practicing and performing music. She also investigates the intersections between music and language. As a performer, she prioritizes the works of living composers and those who have traditionally been excluded from the culture of classical music. She holds degrees in both music and neuroscience from Oberlin College and Conservatory, New England Conservatory of Music, and Rice University. Currently, she is the viola professor at the University of Arizona.

Viola Society members may recall her lecture with a similar scope, given at the 48th International Viola Congress in Rotterdam, 2018. Molly also serves on the board of the American Viola Society, and she was a co-host for the successful 47th International Viola Congress in Columbus, Georgia last year.

We're sorry, registration for this event is no longer possible.



Rotterdam Phil: Viola Academy opening for 2023-24

Are you a graduating (or recently graduated) Conservatory student, dreaming of a first experience with a big-league professional symphony orchestra?

For the third consecutive year, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra has announced the opening of one Academy chair for viola in the 2023/24 season, where the selected candidate will be able to “kick-start your orchestra career”.

The position is now open in Muvac, application deadline is January 30th, 2023.
You can also read more about the RPhO Academy on their site.