Frederick Riddle

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Frederick Craig Riddle OBE (20 April 1912 – 5 February 1995) was a British violist. He was considered[by whom?] to be in the line from Lionel Tertis and William Primrose, through to the violists of today such as Lawrence Power.[1]


Frederick Riddle was born in Liverpool in 1912. He studied at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London 1928-33. He had a solo career while playing with the London Symphony Orchestra 1933-38, then in 1938 was appointed principal viola with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He was a professor of the RCM from 1948. In 1953 he succeeded Harry Danks as principal violist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.[2]

Riddle was distinguished as a chamber music player and a concerto soloist. He made the first recording of William Walton's Viola Concerto, on 6 December 1937,[3] with the composer conducting.[4] He was recommended for this recording by Lionel Tertis. He made some revisions to the concerto, with Walton's approval.[5] Although Walton conducted the work many times with leading soloists such as Tertis and William Primrose, the interpretation he liked above all others was that of Frederick Riddle.[6] He also performed the work in concert under Beecham.[2]


Works that Frederick Riddle premiered included:

Appearances and recordings[edit]

He appeared in such works as:


Frederick Riddle was married twice, and had three daughters. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1980.[4]

He died at Newport on the Isle of Wight in 1995, aged 82.