Rivka Golani | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Rivka Golani

Rivka Golani (formerly m Erdesz). Violist, visual artist (born 22 March 1946 in Tel Aviv, Israel; naturalized Canadian 1983). She began violin lessons at seven and became a pupil of Alexander Moskowsky at 18.
Golani, Rivka
Golani's contributions to the advancement of viola technique have given her a place in the history of the viola. More than 200 pieces have been written for her, of which 39 are concertos, a record matched by no other violist in history.

Rivka Golani (formerly m Erdesz). Violist, visual artist (born 22 March 1946 in Tel Aviv, Israel; naturalized Canadian 1983). She began violin lessons at seven and became a pupil of Alexander Moskowsky at 18. Switching to the viola at 21, she became a pupil of the composer and violist Oedoen Partos while studying 1965-71 at the Rubin Academy of Music at the University of Tel Aviv. Concurrently with her music studies, Golani began her professional activity as an artist; exhibitions of her drawings were held in Canada, Israel, and Europe. She was a member of the Israel Philharmonic and appeared as a soloist with other orchestras in Israel before moving to Canada in 1974. Golani taught 1978-87 at the University of Toronto and RCMT (and again at the University of Toronto in the 1990s); her pupils included Mary Carol Nugent, Beverley Spotton, and Kent Teeple. In 1987 Golani settled in London with her then husband, the conductor Thomas Sanderling, but she frequently returned to Canada to give concerts. She performed on a viola with a unique cut-away design made by her former husband, the Hungarian-born luthier Otto Erdesz.

Golani appeared widely as a soloist (in recital and with the MSO, NACO, TS, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concergebouw, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, and many other orchestras) and on occasion in chamber music performances. At the Promenade concerts in London she played concertos by Walton (1984, Last Night of the Proms), Robin Holloway (1985, the premiere) and Elgar (1990, the Cello Concerto, transcribed by Tertis). In addition to playing the traditional viola literature and some transcriptions, by 2003 Golani had had over 200 works (including at least 39 concertos) written for her. Writing in Musical America (Jan 1985) after the premiere of Colgrass's Chaconne, Robert Markow stated that 'Golani combines flawless intonation, a richly warm tone, technical wizardry, strong projection of musical ideas, and an electrifying stage presence into nothing less than a musical dynamo.'

Golani lived in both London and Toronto. She performed as a member of the Eden Trio (with Andrew Dawes and violinist Yehuda Hanani), and with the chamber ensemble Octagon, with whom she toured in Canada. She also toured with the Esprit Orchestra, and as a soloist performed frequently in the UK, Europe, and Israel. A sought-after recording artist, she recorded with Cadenza, Fontec, Conifer, Centrediscs, Chandos, Helicon, Musica Viva, Naxos, and other labels. CBC radio broadcast a feature on Golani in 1998.

Golani had works written for her by Heinz Holliger, Joji Yuasa, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, and other composers in Europe, Russia and Israel, in addition to the Canadian works listed below. For her contributions to Canadian music, Golani was named a Canadian Music Centre ambassador in 2009.

Selected Canadian Works Written for Golani

BarnesConcerto (viola, orch), 1977

BeecroftTroissonts (viola, 2 percussion), 1982; Jeu III (viola, tape), 1987

B. Cherney Beyond the Seventh Palace (viola, percussion), 1982; In Stillness Ascending (viola, piano), 1986; Shekhinah (viola), 1988

Chan The Charmer, 1994

Colgrass Chaconne (viola, orch), 1984

Evangelista Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, 2002

A. Fisher Parables and Canons (viola, piano), 1982

GlickConcerto (viola, string orch), 1981

HannanRSRCH 11/87 (viola), 1987

C. Hatzis Pyrrichean Dances (viola, percussion), 2000

Healey From the West (viola), 1990

Holt Metamorphosis (viola, piano), 1985

JaegerFavour (elec viola, 2 elec delays), 1980; Fool's Paradise (amplified viola, 2 percussion), 1981

Kenins Concerto for Viola and Orchestra

Koprowski Viola Concerto, 1995

Lake Slowly I Turn (viola, percussion, synthesizer, elec), 1982; Trio (fl, viola, bassoon, tape, elec delay), 1983

Luedeke, RaymondMy Secret Life (viola), 1983

Mather Gattinara (viola, mar), 1982; Viola Duet (2 viola), 1987

Montgomery Fields (viola), 1986

MorawetzSonata (viola, harp), 1985

MozetichBaroque Diversions (viola), 1985

Papineau-CoutureProuesse (viola), 1985

M. Parker Traditional Music (viola, string quartet), 1998

Pepa, Michael Invocations (viola, chamber orch), 1983, (viola, harp), 1985

C. W. Ross, Wanderlust, 1998

Schafer Concerto for Viola and Orchestra

SouthamRe-Tuning (viola, tape), 1985

SurdinConcerto (viola, orch), 1980

ThrowerThrough Time and Space (viola), 19849

Tittlemessages (four) (viola, percussion), 1984

Turner Concerto (viola, orch), 1987

Turner, Sara Scott Reflections I, II (viola), 1990

WeinzweigTremologue (viola), 1989


Birds of Another Feather... My Musical Colleagues (Oakville, Ont 1985)


Bach, arr Kodály - J. Joachim - Montgomery Fields - Southam Re-Tuning. Parr piano. 1986. RCI 634

Bach Suites. 2001. MVCD 1141-3

Bartók Concerto - Serly Concerto; Rhapsody. Budapest Radio SO, Ligeti conductor. 1990. Conifer CDCF-189 (CD)

Bax Fantasy Sonata - Bach Sonata No. 2 - Morawetz Sonata for harp and viola. Loman harp. 1994. Marquis ERAD 131

Brahms 3 Piano Quartets. Borodin Trio. (1990). 2-Chandos CHAN-8009 (CD)

-Viola Sonata in F minor opus 120, no. 1 - J. Joachim Variations on an Original Theme, opus 10. Bogino piano. 1991. Conifer CDCF 199

Britten Lachrymae. I Musici de Montréal. (1990). Chandos CHAN-8817 (CD)

Chaconne: Bloch - Britten - Colgrass Chaconne. TS, Davis conductor. 1988. CBC SM-3-5087/(with Hindemith addition) CBC SM-2-5087 (CD)

Cherney Chamber Concerto for Viola and Ten Players. NMC Ens, Aitken conductor. String Trio. O. Armin violin, Schenkman violoncello. 1981. RCI 537

- Shekinah for solo viola; In Stillness Ascending, L.-P. Pelletier piano. 1991. McGill 750036-2

Elgar Cello Concerto (transcr Tertis) - Bax Phantasy. Royal Phil O, Handley conductor. 1988. Conifer CFC-171/CDCF 171

Freedman Opus Pocus. Aitken fl, O. Armin violin, Schenkman violoncello. 1983. Centrediscs CMC-0983

Glick Music for Passover. Beth Tikvah Synagogue Choir, Beth Tzedec Chor, Kernerman violin, McCartney violin, Miller violoncello, Glick conductor. 4-ACM 34 (CD)

Koprowski Concerto for Viola and Orchestra. TS, Saraste cond. 2001. SMCD 5206

Martinu Rhapsody Concerto. Bern SO, Maag conductor. 1986. Conifer CFC-146

Papineau-Couture Prouesse. 1986. RCI 647

Rubbra Concerto in A for viola and orchestra. Little violin. 1994. Conifer CDCF 225

Schumann Märchenerzählungen. J. Campbell clarinet, Tritt piano. 1986. RCI 637

-Fairly Tales, 3 Romances, 5 Pieces in Folk Style, Fairy Tale Narrations. Blaha piano, Valdepenes clarinet. 1999. MVCD 1127

The Viola I: Dinicu - Fauré - et al. Aide piano. 1984. Masters of the Bow MBS-2017

The Viola II, III: Schumann - J. Joachim - Brahms - Schubert - Shostakovich. Sanders piano. 1984-5. 2-Masters of the Bow MBS-2021-2

Viola Nouveau: Barnes - Cherney - Jaeger - O. Joachim - Prévost. 1983. Centrediscs CMC-0883/(Prévost) 6-ACM 28

Zuckert Shepherd's Sadness, Lento Triste. Parr piano. (1986). Jubal 5007

Further Reading