Mozart's Violin and Viola on Tour in the U.S.

Sandra Baptista

by Sandra Baptista

Published June 3, 2013

Mozart Family Portrait

How enriching it is simply to know that Mozart’s violin and viola will be played in concert and on display in exhibition between Boston and New York this month.

The New York Times reports that the two instruments will travel to Boston first, where on Monday June 10th, during the Boston Early Music Festival at Jordan Hall, violinist Amandine Beyer and violist Milos Valent will perfom a chamber music program in conjunction with pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout and clarinetist Erich Hoeprich. On June 12th, visitors to the same festival will be able to view the instruments at its exhibition.

On June 14th, New Yorkers will share in this rare opportunity to hear the violin played at the Austrian Cultural Forum in a presentation covering the Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg, which is owner of the touring violin and viola.

Though Mozart did play both the violin and viola, his preference for the viola was apparent in that he did not play the violin publicly. He did play his viola in the premiere of the Sinfonia Concertante (K. 364) in 1779. In 1781, at the age of twenty-five, Mozart left Salzburg, at which time so too did he leave his now-touring violin, settling in Vienna by way of Munich, never to return to Salzburg.

The possessorship of the two string instruments by the great virtuoso Mozart elevates richness of their sound and quality to the highest standard. However, what is also noteworthy is that Mozart’s father Leopold was an accomplished violinist whose published work “Essay on Teaching the Violin with Accuracy” was part of the common music literature of the day.

In the end, Mozart’s viola was constructed by Giovanni Paolo Maggini in Brescia, most likely dated 1615. The violin is believed a Klotz, made by the Klotz family in Mittenwald Germany. The Klotz family of violin makers, around since the days of Mozart, continues to make violins in Mittenwald today.

Mozart’s father wrote to ensure that violinists were taught to play with accuracy. His instruments and those of his son would have to play with precision too.

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