Peter Schidlof

violinist and violist (1922 - 1987)


Biography

Partially responsible for bringing the group together, Schidlof played as violist for the Amadeus Quartet for 39 years. Born in Austria, he was forced to flee the country following the Anchluss in 1938. After his emigration to England on the Kindertransport he was forced to go to internment camps in Shropshire, where he met Norbert Brainin and later on the Isle of Man where he met Siegmund Nissel.

Originally a violinist, Peter and Norbert Brainin would switch between violin and viola when the quartet first started playing together. However, it became clear that for the group to really progress Peter would have to agree to play viola as his principal instrument.

Schidlof was always praised for his hugely warm and rich tone as well as the apparent ease at which it seemed he was playing. Ironically, when he first took up the instrument he noted, “When I first did so I couldn’t even read the clef. Then later we did the Schubert Octet and the Beethoven Septet and gradually I began to fall for the rich and sombre quality of the viola”. Schidlof played on the 1722 'MacDonald' Stradivarius viola, which in 2014 failed to reach its auction asking price of $45 million.

After Peter Schidlof's death in Cumbria, northern England in 1987 at the age of 67, Martin Lovett (the cellist in the Amadeus Quartet) was quoted as saying, "Peter's death means the end of the Amadeus Quartet. He is simply irreplaceable."


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Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS. Tel: +44(0)20 7591 4300 Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS.
Tel: +44(0)20 7591 4300
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