Lillian Fuchs

Lillian Fuchs, 1902–1995

0407a Lillian_Fuchs

Where was she educated?

She studied with Louis Svecenski and Franz Kneisel at the New York Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School)

How did she come to the viola?

She began playing viola to join the Perole String Quartet

Where did she work as a professional musician?

She played with the Perole String Quartet until the mid-1940s, and later she was a viola soloist and performed in Europe and the United states. She also performed regularly with her two brothers, Harry Fuchs (cello) and Joseph Fuchs (violin). In 1962 she started teaching at the Manhattan School of Music; in 1971, at the Juilliard School; and in the 1980s, at Mannes College of Music.

Notable compositions?

Works for unaccompanied viola: Fifteen Characteristic Studies (1965), Twelve Caprices (1950), Sixteen Fantasy Études (1961), and Sonata Pastorale (1956)

Interesting facts:

Lillian Fuchs began her musical studies as a pianist before switching to violin.

Geraldine Walther, Lawrence Dutton, Yizhak Schotten, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zuckerman, and Dorothy DeLay are a few of her many students.

She played on a Gasparo da Salò (1540–1609) and always used a gut “A” string because she considered it sacrilege to use anything else on such an old instrument.

First violist to record all six Bach suites on viola.

Links to recordings  

Prelude to the sixth Bach suite, performed by Lillian Fuchs


Sarabande to Bach’s 3rd suite, performed by Lillian Fuchs


Mozart Duo No. 2, KV 424, performed by Joseph and Lillian Fuchs


Martinu Madrigals, (composed for the siblings), Joseph and Lillian Fuchs






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