SCAN0018Over the years, many of us, who had benefitted greatly from our relationships with William Primrose, had conceptualized and hypothesized ways in which weSCAN0018 could assure the memory of this musical giant for generations to come. Professor David Dalton is the one who, almost single-handedly, has made all of our dreams a reality.

Whether through his work as President of both the International and American Viola Societies…or his determination, efforts and fortitude behind the Primrose autobiography, “Walk on the North Side” … or David’s own summary of his hours of conversations with Primrose, “Playing the Viola”… or his overseeing of the production of recordings and videos featuring the master……David Dalton has devoted so many years of his life to the amazing preservation of all that is “William Primrose”.

Personally, I believe David’s greatest achievement has been the creation and development of the “Primrose International Viola Archives” on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

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, 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, Myron Rosenblum, Karen Tuttle and Emanuel Vardi… 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.


A number of years ago, Mr. Primrose’s second wife, Alice, had made David Dalton aware of the existence of a rather large portrait of her husband painted by the well-known American artist, Randall Davey. After years of searching and research Dr. Dalton was finally able to locate and acquire this extremely unique and rare portrait on behalf of PIVA.

On May 3, 2013 a devoted group of violists and viola enthusiasts gathered at PIVA for the unveiling of this marvelous portrait of William Primrose.

“Portrait of William Primrose,” oil on wood panel, measuring 37 x 50 inches, had indeed been painted in 1955 by American artist Randall Davey, who lived and worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The portrait, along with a much smaller companion piece depicting Primrose with an unnamed orchestra, had been a part of the collection at the Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe.

Purchase of this portrait for PIVA was made possible through the generosity of the Primrose Endowment and the Friends of the BYU Library along with additional gifts from my long-time friends and colleagues Pamela Goldsmith, Yizhak Schotten …….and yours truly!

This wonderful portrait now hangs proudly just inside the elegant entrance to the Primrose International Viola Archives.


It is with great pride I have recently announced 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. I am hopeful that the transfer of this extensive collection will be completed by the end of 2015 and that viola-lovers from around the world will ultimately benefit from this glimpse into my life as a teacher, performer, recording artist, politician, legislative advocate, businessman, pilot and author for decades to come.

As this process unfolds it is my plan to preview and describe many of the unique items from this collection on the PIVA page of my own website, By the way…you will also find a direct link to the Primrose International Viola Archives website on my PIVA page. If you would prefer accessing the PIVA website directly their address is:

I am hopeful that this article has built some awareness and peaked your interest in the PRIMROSE INTERNATIONAL VIOLA ARCHIVES. It is my sincere opinion that ultimately, every serious violist needs to make a pilgrimage to PIVA at some point in their lifetime. I can assure you such a journey will prove to be an absolutely awesome experience!

(Photos by Dwight Pounds)


Entrance to PIVA featuring the Randall Davey portrait of William Primrose.

Entrance to PIVA featuring the Randall Davey portrait of William Primrose.

Alan de Veritch

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