The Hugo Vianello Collection

We are proud to offer the collection of Hugo Vianello.

“Appointment as Assistant conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic. During his tenure there, he founded the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. Associate Conductor of the KC Symphony and founder of the Missouri Symphony Society in Columbia, MO”

(Better Pictures soon to come! Pictured unsetup)

Arthur Richardson, Devon 1946


16 3/4” viola by Arthur Richardson, Devon 1946.

Price $Inquire$

A fine viola by Arthur Richardson, Devon 1946.  This is an rare example of the collaboration of violist Lionel Tertis and Richardson to develop a model with larger lower bouts.  The purpose was to play a smaller viola but have a tone like a larger one. This viola is #49. That is out of 200! So it is an early example and luckily is in excellent condition.

Arthur Richardson - (1882 – 1965)
Arthur Richardson took up violin making around 1915, having worked initially as a woodcarver and pattern-maker. He was largely self-taught. Perhaps the most significant event in his working life occurred in 1937, when he met violist Lionel Tertis, who was then developing an alternative model for the viola. The two collaborated extensively on the project, and the Tertis model owes much to the expertise of Richardson, though ultimately it does not bear his name. By all accounts a gentle and industrious man, Richardson made over 200 violas (of which this viola is number 49), over 300 violins, and 28 cellos of solid craftsmanship and refinement before his death at the age of 81.

Lionel Tertis, (29 December 1876 – 22 February 1975) was an English violist and one of the first viola players to find international fame. He was also a noted teacher. Mr. Tertis owned a 1717 Montagnana from 1920 to 1937 which he found during one of his concert tours to Paris in 1920, and took a chance in acquiring. Per his memoirs, it was "shown to me in an unplayable condition, without bridge, strings or fingerboard.... No case was available – it was such a large instrument 17 1/8 inches – so my wife came to the rescue by wrapping it in her waterproof coat, and that is how it was taken across the English Channel." Tertis preferred a large viola to get an especially rich tone from his instrument. Knowing that some would find a 17-1/8-inch instrument too large he created his own Tertis model, which provides many of the tonal advantages of the larger instrument in a manageable 16-3/4-inch size.

We have found that many of our customers love the tone produced by this wide, flat model. 


The bio below was provided by Marc Vianello, CPA, ABV, CFF

Hugo Vianello died at 1:55am on Good Friday, March 30, 2018 at the VA Hospital in Columbia after a delightful dinner out with his wife and friends. He was 92 years old.

After military service during WWII, Hugo enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music where he earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music.

As a violist, Hugo performed regularly with the Knickerbocker Chamber Players, the Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra and the Radio City Music Hall Symphony. Before turning his attention to conducting, he also was an orchestra member of the Minneapolis Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, and principal violist of the Oklahoma City Symphony. He toured extensively throughout the United States and internationally.  Included among his credits are performances in Greece, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Yugoslavia and Canada.

He made his conducting debut with the Oklahoma City Symphony. His broadcasts on the Voice of America were beamed to Europe as part of a regular weekly feature. He subsequently accepted an appointment as Assistant conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic. During his tenure there, he founded the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. Honored with the American Symphony League Conductor Recognition Award, he was selected to participate in conducting projects with the Baltimore and Cincinnati symphonies.

Hugo left Kansas City for an appointment as music director of the Lansing (Michigan) Symphony. Concurrently, he accepted the prestigious position of Director of Orchestral Activities at Northwestern University. While in the Chicago area, he conducted National Education Television (NET) opera productions.

In 1968, Hugo accepted the position of Director of Orchestral Activities at Stephens College in Columbia, MO.  In 1970, he and his wife Lucy founded the Missouri Symphony Society.  Hugo served as its Artistic Director and Conductor for 28 years, until his retirement, when he was named Conductor Laureate.  For thirteen seasons, he concurrently held the post of Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony. Hugo continued to conduct orchestras around the country, and also conducted the Orquestra Sinfonica Estados Mexico in Mexico City.

Hugo and Lucy were instrumental in saving the historic Missouri Theatre from demolition when he led the Symphony Society to buy the theater for its home. The auditorium of the theater is now named in their honor.  In 2015, Hugo and Lucy were honored by Columbia's Historic Preservation Commission for preserving and restoring this Columbia treasure.

Hugo was also a composer. His Christmas Kaleidoscope was performed by numerous orchestras throughout the country. In December 2017, Hugo saw the world premier of his operetta, An Antique Carol, at Talking Horse Productions.