Ref :   0690

A good viola by
István Olah
(41.2 cm)
Durban, 1995

István Olah was born in Romania where he also studied violin making. Being a professional violist, he soon became a prolific maker of violas - and instrument that he, as maker, has a particularly close relationship and understanding with. He moved to South Africa in the early 1980s to take up a position as viola player in the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra in Durban, where he now lives. He still actively works as maker and restorer of instruments.

Olah has made a large number of mainly violas in South Africa, most of which are used professionally and by advanced students. His violas always sound good and are characterized by rich robust tone and ease of execution. Another characteristic of his work is that he prefers making his own fittings for his instrument - we usually see his violas with his own chinrests, fingerboards and even bridges. His inclination and consideration is always principally towards good tonal properties, seeming to care less about conventions of refined lutherie, often sacrificing refinement, although some of his work demonstrates great skill and attention to detail - something he is certainly capable of.

This viola (41.2 cm) is made of good materials - the two-piece back and ribs of mildly flamed maple with a medium curl - repeated in the neck and scroll. The top is of good tone spruce. The scroll could have received more attention in refinement, and is marginally more than functional. The purfling likewise is somewhat ponderous and not very tidy when examined closely. The chinrest and tailpiece are made by Olah himself and fingerboard is of an unknown hardwood, lighter in colour than ebony, but perfectly functional. This viola is signed and dated by the maker inside in the back, directly on the wood.

The tone on this viola is very good, rivalling that of very good fine instruments by master instrument builders. It is an accessible instrument which would eminently suit a good advanced student looking for a solid healthy viola that will allow for great advancement and eventually professional work.


Dimensions :
  Length: 41.2 cm

Condition :
  Excellent condition

Provenance :

Price : Withheld


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