Death of a viola star, 72

Death of a viola star, 72


norman lebrecht

January 07, 2018

Friends have reported the death on January 3 of Luigi Alberto Bianchi, one of the foremost Italian viola virtuosi wit many recordings to his credit on both viola and violin.

He was a noted authority on Paganini and wrote a book on Alessandro Rolla, the wizard’s only teacher. He was also an enthusiast for the chamber music of the great film composer Nino Rota. His solo tours were especially popular in the UK.


Starting out as principal viola of Rome’s RAI orhestra, he also played in the Quartetto di Roma and, from 1973, served as professor of viola at the University of Milan.




  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    A wonderful musician. Rest in peace.

  • Simon Scott says:

    I once met Luigi Alberto in Genoa. We had a wonderful conversation,sadly,he had to dash off to a rehearsal. I only wish that we could’ve finished it.
    The Angel I saw once and never again.
    Life’s like that……

    • Elisabeth Matesky says:

      Simon Scott’s beautiful Tribute to the now late Liugi Alberto is perfect & Holy …

      Elisabeth Matesky in America

  • David K. Nelson says:

    A very fine and musical player; as with many of the best Italian string players you could hear the warmth of the sun and the human voice in his sound. I seem to recall he had a wonderful instrument stolen right out of his hands – a Strad? I wonder if it was ever recovered.

    • Simon Scott says:

      Unfortunately,Luigi Alberto was bitten twice. His great Amati viola was stolen in 1980,recovered 26 years later,and his 1716 “Colossus” Strad violin was stolen in 1998 and is still missing.
      David,I totally agree with your assessment of his playing. For me,he was the Zino Francescatti of the viola

      • Elisabeth Matesky says:

        Dear Simon ~ How utterly tragic and cruel in Life’s “scheme” that a rare musician
        and equally rare person, Luigi Alberto, should have such such evil foisted upon a
        holy soul … Knowing what I know about his warmth, humility, artistic pedigree, & fully agreeing w/your comment, ‘For me, he was the Zino Francescatti of Viola’, I
        begin to doubt The Good Book’s promise, yet for the ultimate Cross Christ Jesus
        paid for all humanities sins ~

        Certainly, submitting this heinous crime, twice committed, to sister American musical publications with Norman Lebrecht’s permission & blessing, might help to somehow lead to a massive search for Luigi Alberto’s 1716 ‘Colossus’ Strad, still missing … Your Italian Maestro of the Viola deserves this at the very least.

        One other thought: Those thieves could never steal the artistry and soul of the very great artist and person, Luigi Alberto, who uplifted the World of Music so greatly and humbly …

        Even more saddened today, January 8, 2018, may one of few “Popes of Music” be rewarded in Heaven ~

        Elisabeth ‘M’ in America

        • Roger Stimson says:

          Very much like famous painters, Elisabeth. They live, work, and die in poverty. After their death commercially minded collectors spend and make huge sums out of their suffering! It seems wrong! Yet we must recall that these people are forgotten. The great artist, meanwhile, is remembered!

  • Elisabeth Matesky says:

    Dear Simon Scott, Roger Stimson and Norman Lebrecht ~

    All you have written from your hearts of the late Luigi Alberto Bianchi, is tugging
    at one’s heart strings w/utter upset at the evil’s which were foisted upon Maestro
    Bianchi during his Earthly Life ~

    I salute you, Simon, for your beautiful ‘Ode to Luigi Alberto Bianchi, one of the
    Greatest Viola Players of All Time’, which was just been published here in our Chicago Federation of Musicians CFM, Local 10-208, ‘Intermezzo’ March 2018 issue, and in so doing, CFM Officer’s and all our membership say Thank you for a Gift to all professional musician’s in Chicago & the greater Chicago – land area, as the ‘Windy City’ has long honoured great Italian musicians including ‘Pope’ of Music, Carlo Maria Giulini, Principle Guest Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra w/ Music Director, Sir Georg Solti; Claudio Abbado, invited to be the Music Director just following Maestro Solti’s passing in Sept., 1997, yet deferred
    having accepted the Music Directorship of the Berlin Philharmonic, & guested on the CSO podium, such was his connection with our CSO musicians & audiences + our current Music Director, Riccardo Muti. Viola Master, Luigi Alberto Bianchi,
    belongs in the elite company of his musical compatriot colleagues, and many are
    truly disheartened in learning of the injustice’s the late Violist endured in Life ~

    As Roger Stimson states, ‘like famous painter’s, Elisabeth, they live, work and die in poverty … ‘ & writes of those who forage for fame off of a great artist soul
    once departed ~ Mr. Lebrecht kindly offer’s us some thoughts & overviews about
    tragic stories of Great’s suffering whilst living w/ Vulcher’s then flocking to pick & peck from pearled Art left by the ‘Pure’ with lowered agenda’s searching for fame A.D., to make tainted profit off the Backs of the Righteous and Good …

    Long may the toil & love for Music Luigi Alberto Bianchi offered purely, prevail ~

    elisabeth matesky

    • Simon Scott says:

      When Luigi Alberto Bianchi passed away the Italian press did almost zero for him. Scandalous.
      Italy is no longer ‘la madre della musica’.

      • Elisabeth Matesky says:

        Dear Simon Scott ~

        Indeed! The old adage, “A Prophet is not without honour, save his own country’
        is more than sadly still true … However, some American colleagues have been already expressing their gratitude in learning about the great, late Viola Master,
        Luigi Alberto Bianchi, duly honoured in the fine Chicago Federation of Musicians
        Local 10-208, ‘Intermezzo’ Magazine March 2018 issue, which granted Maestro
        Luigi Alberto Bianchi, an entire page in our paper edition, page 8. Only received
        yesterday, 7/3/2018, via snail mail, I was thrilled in seeing your beautiful ‘Ode to Luigi Alberto Bianchi’ in print, occupying ‘Center Stage’ in our own ‘Intermezzo’!!

        Bravo’s again, dear Simon ‘Says’, for your heartfelt Tribute which truly touches the human heart and time honoured sense of that which is Right, Just and Fair ~

        Many Thanks to Norman Lebrecht for graciously providing an international forum
        which offers his many follower’s a ‘home’ for sincere musical expression …

        With gratitude from Chicago ~

        Elisabeth (Matesky)

        • Simon Scott says:

          If anyone is interested my more extended tribute to Luigi Alberto Bianchi can be found the the March 2018 issue of the Chicago Federation of Musicians magazine Intermezzo. Page 5 on the internet version and page 8 in the paper edition