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S234, Viola, “Malcolm Collins”, #20, Upper Hutt, New Zealand, 1985
This is a relatively early viola by esteemed Upper Hutt violin maker Malcolm Collins – last year (2014) Malcolm made viola #60. A viola player himself, Malcolm has always been eager to keep his violas within a manageable size while enhancing depth and richness of tone. To this end, he favours a medium body size, broad bouts and deep ribs. The workmanship of this instrument is exquisite, as ever, and the pale gold varnish enhances the wood without hiding any detail.
S327 Adrian Studer, Nelson, New Zealand 2000$ 11,000.00
This handsome, 16 ¼ inch viola by the Swiss-born-and-trained violin maker, Adrian Studer, is modelled after the early Brescian style, with broad upper and lower bouts, generous arching that rises from a point close to the double purfling line, and elongated, narrow ‘f’ holes. The varnish is a warm golden-orange colour, antiqued with Studer’s characteristic craquillure, and the tone is dark and deep.
S328 Anthony Elmsly viola$ 12,000.00
A 2016 instrument by specialist viola maker Anthony Elmsly. With a body length of 41.3cm (41.6 over the arch) this is a classic, manageably sized instrument, with the design based on some of the most successful alto sized models in history; the much copied “Conte Vitale” and “Primrose” violas by Andrea Guarneri. The sound of this instrument is strong and even across the range.
S381 Harold Walker, Illinois, No.3, 1977$ 12,000.00
Harold Walker was an American violin maker with an association, both formal and informal, with Carl Becker, of the prestigious violin shop “Carl Becker and Son”, in Chicago. He sometimes worked in Becker’s shop and was also a great fishing buddy. While he isn’t noted as a top professional maker, Walker made very playable, well-crafted instruments. This viola has a full, warm lower range and a clear upper register. It was the preferred instrument of a professional player for many years.
B918 Adrian Studer, Nelson 1990$ 14,000.00
It isn’t often we feature the owner of an instrument but this viola and its player have played such an important role in Dunedin’s musical life we feel the following biography needs no apology. Jack Speirs studied composition, music history, conducting, violin and viola in Edinburgh and Berlin before taking up a lectureship in music at the University of Otago in 1965. He was well-known as a violin and viola teacher, composer, orchestral and chamber music player, and soloist. He was musical director of the Dunedin Civic orchestra, now the Southern Sinfonia, for 15 years. This viola has a rich, warm, clear sound with a strong, projecting bass. As with all Studer’s instruments it is beautifully made.