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Trinity Laban acquires important viola archive

Wed 26 October 2016

Trinity Laban is delighted to announce the acquisition of the Tertis-White Collection, an archive of material relating to the renowned violist Lionel Tertis, collected by fellow violist and author John White.

Lionel Tertis is renowned as the foremost champion of the viola as a solo instrument. He inspired and performed many new works for the instrument, and was a prolific arranger of works for the viola. This collection comprises Tertis’ manuscript arrangements and annotated copies of music he owned, along with photographs, correspondence, concert programmes and other memorabilia. It was the life’s work of the much-respected violist John White whose definitive biography of Tertis was published in 2006.

The archive of material is housed at the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts, based at the Faculty of Music. Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music played a formative role in the development of Lionel Tertis’ career. He studied piano, harmony and violin on an ad hoc basis between 1892 and 1894 at the then Trinity College of Music. Much later, at a dinner given in his honour in 1962, Tertis spoke of the ‘benefit and musical enthusiasm’ he had received during his studentship at Trinity.

Carol White, wife of the late John White commented:

“This archive will appeal not only to viola enthusiasts but to instrument makers and musicologists. John would have been delighted that all this material has been kept together and has been added to Lillian’s small collection. His wish was that it should be appreciated by, and available to, researchers for years to come.”

Researchers are welcome; please contact the library on to make an appointment.

Trinity Laban will also be holding an exhibition based on the collection in spring 2017, which will be open to the public.

For more information on the collection visit the Archives Hub