I never saw my stolen viola again

I never saw my stolen viola again


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2016

The musician Sally Beamish relates movingly in the Guardian how the theft of her instrument in 1989 changed her from a performer to a composer.

A friend found the two bows in an alleyway. In the following weeks, I scoured markets and antique shops, convinced I would find the viola. These unique instruments don’t just disappear – any dealer would have recognised it immediately. But the years went by, and it has never been found.

I made a conscious decision back then that something positive had to come out of this. I wanted to be able to look back and say: “If my viola hadn’t been stolen, then I would never have …” And what I wanted most of all was to become a full-time composer.

Sally has a premiere at the Proms this weekend. Read her full story here.


sally beamish



  • Victor Grauer says:

    What I hear so far I like very much. The orchestral writing is deft, transparent, and to the point, the viola solo lyrical and quite lovely. I’m impressed with how she manages to avoid the sort of empty passage work we so often hear in concerti. Any chance of hearing the whole thing?