Violist Cynthia Phelps on studying with William Primrose and Donald McInnes

Cynthia Phelps

For some players, only the viola sound will do. But to bring out its full power, the New York Philharmonic violist sought help from a number of teachers, writes Ariane Todes

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I started on violin when I was four, with Sybil Maxwell. She was very strict when it came to etudes and scales, so I got a solid background. But I wasn’t happy playing the violin because the sound was not suitable to my ears – I just didn’t like the E string. So when I was eleven I switched to viola and I was much happier...

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