Alba Rosa ViëtorAlba Rosa Viëtor (July 18, 1889 – April 15, 1979) was an Italian-born violinist and composer who settled in the United States in 1919.
BiographyAlba Rosa grew up in Milan, where she was admitted to the Milan Conservatory at the age of 8. She was the youngest student ever to be admitted. At the age of 14 she continued her studies in Brussels, after a short stay in Uruguay. Here she studied under the famed violinist César Thomson and later she studied under the creator of the Sevcik violin method, Otakar Ševčík. One of his notable students was Jan Kubelík, who would become her mentor and to whose memory she dedicated her Elegie. In 1919 she settled permanently in the United States, and married Jan Fresemann Viëtor, a Dutch businessman who was a skilled amateur violinist.
After a successful career as a violinist, in 1916 she played alongside Camille Saint-Saëns on piano during a tour in Argentina, she decided to end this and dedicated herself completely to composing.
After her divorce (the marriage was dissolved in 1940; Jan died in 1953 in Panama) she became a member of the National Association for American Composers and Conductors. She composed prolifically for orchestra, voice and various solo instruments. Several American orchestras and soloists including the National Gallery of Art Symphony Orchestra and the Frost Symphony Orchestra, have performed her works. Her compositions were performed in the same program as Charles Ives, Aaron Copland and John Philip Sousa by the National Gallery Orchestra in 1950.
The most important element that dominates all of Alba Rosa Vietor's work is not the form but rather the mood she wishes to convey. Lawrence A. Johnson calls one of her best known works, Primavera Lombarda (Springtime in Lombardy), "an intriguing moody Mediterranean tone poem".
After her death in 1979 her compositions fell into oblivion. Due to the initiative of her son Hendrik Viëtor to digitize the works of his mother, her works have been performed more frequently since 2003.
Her works have been archived by the Marta & Austin Weeks Music Library of the University of Miami.
The Alba Rosa Viëtor Foundation and Alba Rosa Viva! chamber music festivalThe Alba Rosa Viëtor Foundation was founded by Mary van Veen-Viëtor, Hermance Viëtor and Maarten van Veen in 2009 to promote knowledge of Rosa Viëtor's music and to encourage improvisation and composition, particularly by female composers. The Foundation has published a book, The Story of Alba Rosa Viëtor: Violinist and Composer 1889 – 1979 (2009), which includes essays about her works by Paul Janssen and Peter Fraser MacDonald, as well as a list of compositions. The Foundation have also released a CD with a recording of her Piano Trio Op. 8 by the Storioni Trio.
In 2014, the Foundation started a biannual chamber music festival, Alba Rosa Viva! This festival is not only intended to make the works of Alba Rosa heard, but also to draw attention to other female composers, whose works are rarely heard in the classical music halls. Some recent compositions are always part of the festival program. The Festival is an idea of artistic director Reinild Mees, who had already put Alba Rosa Viëtor’s music in the spotlight during the Women's Music Marathon in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
The Foundation also organizes the biennial Alba Rosa Viëtor Composition Competition for composers up to 35 years old, with a jury headed by composer Willem Jeths. The compositions of the finalists are performed during the festival.