Atar Arad

Aviv (2022)

PRIMAVERA IV the heart

from the composer

Six Miniatures for cello solo:

  1. Once Upon A Time
  2. Highland
  3. Song
  4. Humoresque
  5. Elegy
  6. Spring Dance

Never mind what I KNOW about Botticelli’s Primavera. What I SEE is a gathering of seemingly unrelated scenes, made whole by supremely graceful, elegant, inviting brush strokes.

Accordingly, Aviv (“spring” in Hebrew) is not an entirely new composition, but an assemblage of unassuming drafts I jotted down in the past, like notes in one’s musical diary.  These not only have little to do with one another, but seem to be using a different musical language altogether (Highland, as an example, echoes a delightful memory of a family trip in Scotland and has nothing to do with Song, a Ladino-like melody which reflects my past in Israel).

Spring brings memories, both sad and happy.  Spring evokes music, humor, dance, and – above all, for me – a pleasantly warm reminder that, yes, life is beautiful after all. That’s what I see and feel looking at Botticelli’s painting, and it’s what guided me in selecting the material to work with. 

In doing so, I look forward to hearing the six miniatures made whole by the supremely graceful, elegant and inviting bow strokes of my friend, Matt.


Israeli-born violist and composer Atar Arad is a faculty member at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington. His summer activities include teaching at Keshet Eilon, Israel, Domaine Forget, Canada, Heifetz Institute and the Steans Music Institute (where he is serving as faculty since 1991).

A Cum Laude First Prize winner at the Geneva International Music Competition (1972), he has performed worldwide in recitals and as a soloist with major orchestras and, for seven years, as a member of the celebrated Cleveland Quartet. His recordings with the quartet and as a soloist for labels such as Teldec, Telarc, RCA and RIAX are widely acclaimed. His performance of Paganini’s Sonata Per La Grand’ Viola e Orchestra in particular is considered by many as a landmark in the history of the viola.

A “late bloomer” composer, Arad’s compositions include a Solo Sonata for Viola, two String Quartets, a Viola Concerto (which he premiered in Bloomington, Brussels and in Stockholm) and more. His Tikvah for Viola Solo was commissioned for the 2008 Munich International Viola Competition by the ARD. His Listen (three poems by W.S. Merwin) for tenor, clarinet, viola, cello and bass was written for the International Musicians Seminar’s concert tour in England with singer Mark Padmore. Epitaph for cello and string orchestra was written for cellist Gary Hoffman who premiered it in Kronberg, Germany, with the Kremerata Baltica Orchestra (Arad performed the viola version of this piece at the International Viola Congress in Rochester, NY). Arad performed and presented his Twelve Caprices for Viola on several USA, Canada, Israel and European concert tours. The Caprices are published by Hofmeister Musikverlag, Leipzig.

Recent performances include the Primrose Memorial Concert at BYU and, as a part of his services as the Lorand Fenyves Distinguished Visitor, in Toronto.

In November 2018, Arad was a featured artist at the International Viola Congress in Rotterdam, premiering his new concerto for viola and strings, titled “Ceci n’est pas un Bach”.

Atar Arad is a recipient of the American Viola Society’s Career Achievement Award (June 2018) and the International Viola Society’s Silver Alto Clef 2018 “in recognition for his outstanding contributions to the to the viola” (November 2018).

In 2021, Arad composed his Chaconne for solo viola, commissioned by the International Hindemith Viola Competition.
Arad plays on a viola by Niccolo Amati. He uses a set of PI strings by Thomastik.