PIVA Historical Background



The Primrose International Viola Archive (PIVA), housed at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, is the official viola archive of the both the International Viola Society and American Viola Society. PIVA holds the largest collection in the world of the viola literature as well as William Primrose’s own collection of letters, personal belongings and instruments. You may visit PIVA  at:   PRIMROSE INTERNATIONAL VIOLA ARCHIVES

Originally conceived in 1974 as a national resource center for students, violists, and scholars, the “Primrose Viola Library” changed its name in 1981 to the “Primrose International Viola Archive” (PIVA), when due, in large part to the efforts of Professor David Dalton (the World’s foremost expert on the life and career of Sir William Primrose and himself a former President of both the American Viola Society and the International Viola Society) the International Viola Society (IVS) transferred its entire archive from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria to Provo.

Since its founding in 1974, PIVA has grown to become the world’s largest repository of music and research documents for the viola. In addition to serving as the official archive for both the International and American Viola Societies, PIVA’s current holdings consist of literally thousands of published scores, hundreds of sound recordings, original manuscripts and photocopies of manuscripts, as well as a mounting depository of correspondence, research papers, photographs and other memorabilia from the private collections of many renowned violists including William Primrose, Paul Doktor, Karen Tuttle, Emanuel Vardi and Ernst Wallfisch…to name a few. Located in a beautiful mountain setting at the Harold B. Lee Library of Brigham Young University, it will continue to preserve the past and future heritage of the viola and its performing artists.

By the time I became President of the American Viola Society in 1990, PIVA was thriving, due in large part to David’s continued efforts and the enthusiasm, expertise and commitment of PIVA’s Curator, Dr. David Day. I have always enjoyed my visits to Provo immensely and continue to be thrilled with the constant growth and maturing of the archive and all that has been done to preserve the memory of our dear William. As far back as I can remember, both David Day and David Dalton have aggressively encouraged me to, at some point, officially commit to the gifting of my personal collection to PIVA as well.

Finally, at the end of 2014, I officially announced, with great pride, my plans to gift to this incredible museum and research center the vast majority of my personal and professional memorabilia, photographs, correspondence, documents, recordings and music collection. Happily, by the summer of 2015, a large portion of these items had already been delivered to PIVA!

Although I am aware it will take some time for my collection to be totally organized and integrated to the point of maximizing its accessibility for viewing, both Evie and I are committed to personally assisting with this extensive project. Also, in time, additional photos, music and memorabilia will be added to the current inventory. I am truly hopeful that ultimately viola-lovers from around the world will benefit from this glimpse into my life as a teacher, performer, recording artist, politician, legislative advocate, businessman, pilot and author for decades to come.


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