This was taken from an article on people like us, stolen from Wikepedia. Anyway, I thought everyone should read this.
Violas and violists are often the target of the musical equivalent of the blonde joke. This is probably the result of the mostly obsolete practice in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century orchestras of demoting to the viola section violinists who lose their playing ability as a result of age or lack of practice.
Among the great composers, several preferred the viola to the violin when playing in ensembles, notably J. S. Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Numerous other composers also played the viola in ensembles including Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn, and Antonin Dvorak.
There are only a few really well known viola virtuosi, likely owing to the shortage of music featuring the instrument. Among the better known violists from earlier in the twentieth century are Lionel Tertis, Paul Hindemith, William Primrose, Joseph de Pasquale and Walter Trampler. More recently, well known violists include Yuri Bashmet, Kim Kashkashian, Garth Knox, Roberto Diaz, Tabea Zimmermann, Nobuko Imai, Rivka Golani, Paul Neubauer and, from the younger generation, Antoine Tamestit.
The term violist is not universally used in English; some players, generally British, prefer viola player.
totally! That's why i'm in music school! i study at the Amsterdam Conservatory. It's funny how they put Joseph de Pasquale on the "older generation" list, because i'm pretty sure he's still alive. I mean, he may be like 100 years old, but that's no reason to put him on the list with all the dead people... Tertis, Hindemith, Primrose and Trampler are all long dead. Seems a little unfair to me! hahaha
yea, i really wanted to go to Curtis, but me and Roberto Diaz share a burning hate for eachother. My teacher (nobuko) always asks why they didn't let me into Curtis. Ah well, Amsterdam is cooler...
Going to be the next PRIMROSE!!!