Tertis, Lionel, eminent English violisi and teacher; b. West Hartlepool, Dec. 29, 1876; d. London, Feb. 22, 1975. He studied violin at the Leipzig Cons, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He took up the viola at 19 and became active as a chamber music artist; served as principal violist in the Queen’s Hall Orch. (1900-1904), and in Beecham’s orch. (1909); eventually became one of the most renowned violists in Europe. In 1901 he became prof, of viola at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was director of its ensemble class (1924-29). In 1936 he retired from his concert career, but in later years made occasional appearances; his farewell performance was given at the age of 87. In 1950 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He prepared many transcriptions for his instrument and also commissioned various works from noted English composers. He wrote Beauty of Tone in String Playing (London, 1938) and the autobiographical Cinderella No More (London, 1953; 2nd ed., rev. and enl, 1974, as My Viola and I: A Complete Autobiography). He designed the Tertis viola (16 3/49), which is described in Music & Letters (July 1947).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire