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Emanuel Vardi papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7894

Scope and Contents

Collection contains photographs, original drawings and paintings, concert programs, newspaper clippings and scrapbooks, awards, posters of concerts, CDs of Vardi's performances, and other material relating to the life and career of Emanuel Vardi, 1941-2005.


  • 1941-2005


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from Emanuel Vardi papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical history

Emanuel Vardi (1917-2011) is considered to be one of the greatest violists of the twentieth century, giving concerts and teaching across the United States and in Europe.

Emanuel Vardi was born April 21, 1917, in Jerusalem to musician parents, Joseph and Anna Jaffa Vardi, a violinist and pianist respectively. As they both taught at the Conservatory, it was only natural that by the age of three, Emanuel was receiving lessons on both instruments from his parents. The family immigrated to New York in the 1920's where Vardi's musical education continued. At seven, Vardi dropped the piano and started focused violin lessons with Joseph Borisoff, Leopold Auer, and Auer's assistant, Khusdo. At the age of twelve, in spite of his age, he was accepted at the Institute of Musical Art (later the Julliard School) where he studied under Constance Seeger. In spite of his talent, he dropped out of school for two years during which time he unsuccessfully auditioned for the Curtis Institute. Returning to Seeger's instruction, Vardi received the additional lessons necessary for a successful re-audition for the Julliard School. Ultimately, though, Vardi did not graduate from Julliard.

By 1937, Vardi had heard a recording of violist William Primrose which inspired him to discard the violin and take up serious study of the viola, something Julliard did not offer. The Metropolitan Opera offered Vardi a job, which he declined in order to study with his inspiration, William Primrose. At the time, Primrose played in the NBC Symphony as directed by Toscanini, and soon found a position for him as well. During World War II, he played in the US Navy band.

Vardi was married three times: first to Margaret Bernhard, which ended in divorce; second to Greta Mayer, producing two daughters and ending in divorce; then finally to violist/violinist Lenore Weinstock in 1984. Since then, he actively concertized across the country, wrote music for the viola and expanded its limited repertoire, recorded music, and gave master classes. In 2007, he and his wife moved to North Bend, Washington, where they soon became involved in the local arts community, culminating in the organization of the Snoqualmie Valley Music Festival in 2010. Vardi died of cancer on January 29, 2011.

Vardi's career extended beyond performing: he was a professor at Temple University, Manhattan School of Music, and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; between 1970 and 1980; he went into producing at record labels such as Audio Fidelity and MGM as well as conducting various orchestras across the country; and in 1993, successfully established a second career as a painter after a broken wrist and torn rotator cuff forced him to put down the viola.


4 boxes (2 linear ft.)

1 oversize box (0.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



The original order of this collection has been retained.

Custodial History

Donated by Emanuel Vardi in June 2008.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Emanuel Vardi; June 2008.


Prominent Violist, (Section IV Primrose International Viola Archive Collection Development Policy January 2011).

Processing Information

Processed; Lindsay Weaver; June 2011.

Register of Emanuel Vardi papers
Lindsay A. Weaver
2011 June 28
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States