I am the proud owner of a 2004 viola by Ian Ross.
I took ownership in 2007, just after my 30th birthday. I remember it well. I had been playing in Cardiff a lot, with Cardiff Philharmonic and other amateur groups including Cambrensis. Everytime I found myself in Cardiff, I would pop into Cardiff Violins to have a play on some instruments, aware that the one I owned was not capable of me making technical progress. This is not a case of a bad player blaming the instrument… read on.
Ian’s viola was there waiting for me over 4 successive occasions. It got to the point that I hoped it wouldn’t sell, and it didn’t, until it came to me.
Its sound is captivating. It has an incredibly deep and warm tone throughout, and the A string soars yet remains mellow. Playing it is an experience, it really does play itself. Since taking ownership, I have put myself, successfully, through Grade 8 (I procrastinated) and then the ATCL. The instrument holds it’s own in a quartet, pit band, an opera and symphonic setting.
I’ve performed a few recitals on it, in addition to the Telemann viola concerto, and it cuts through the tutti with panache. I’ve also done the cello solo from the Armed Man on it – he really did write that for viola…