Musical Advent Calendar

Just in time for the holiday season, ViolaViva presents an edition with 27 traditional Christmas songs, arranged for violin and viola, and separately for two violas – a beautiful, easy-to-play Christmas surprise for the whole family.

Drawing by Ernest Hiltenbrand
Niklaus RüeggThe pandemic hasn't surfaced many uplifting or encouraging stories; but here's one: Retired music teacher and violist Austin Boothroyd from Eastbourne on Great Britain's south coast arranged traditional European Christmas songs for violin and viola and video-recorded these through WhatsApp, together with his wife, a violinist. During the advent time of 2020, a time when one could barely leave the house due to the pandemic, he sent his sons and their families a daily duet as a musical advent surprise – a charming idea to stay in touch with beloved ones during these challenging times. Passionate violists and violinists are encouraged to repeat this heartwarming story in their own environment this year, surprising their families with enchanting, traditional Christmas melodies.
Boothroyd sensed publisher interest and presented his arrangements to ViolaViva. He was excited when Hansruedi Gräf from ViolaViva replied to let him know that his works had been accepted. The two agreed to frequent future collaborations.

A Working Life in Germany
His music studies led Austin Boothroyd to the University of Sheffield, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the University College London. Following his graduation in music theory, he changed his instrumental focus to trumpet, however, he also plays other instruments including the piano, harpsichord, viola, flute and guitar, all while being an enthusiastic choir singer.
As a music teacher, he barely set foot in his home country, but started working on different German military bases after concluding his studies. These bases included English-speaking schools for children of British military personnel. He taught at schools in Mönchengladbach, Osnabrück, Gütersloh, Hameln,
A. Boothroyd and N. Ruegg during the interview
Detmold, Bielefeld, Herford, Paderborn and Münster, as well as via video for schools in Ramstein and Mons (Belgium). He stayed in Germany for over 30 years. Following his retirement in 2019, he moved to Eastbourne. His kids grew up in Germany and now live close to Eastbourne in Brighton. As a music educator, composer, arranger and publisher, Boothroyd spent his entire career teaching music. The core of his motivation had always been to encourage and inspire students, teachers and established performers to play spirited performances. His declared intention is to enable musicians to perform together.
Among his published compositions are "Up We Go" for trumpet and piano, and "Up and Away" for french horn and piano (both with Novello). Schott published his "Ten Sonatas" and "Five Capricci" for trumpet and basso continuo by Girolamo Fantini. He also self-published a series of compositions under the label Martello Music. Among the educational titles with Martello Music are "Lights! Camera! Action!" (five pieces for two trumpets and piano), "Tuba Tunes" (four pieces for tuba and piano), "Playing from Scratch" (12 pieces for ensemble classes), and "Piano Studies" (Book One and Two). In collaboration with ViolaViva, he focuses on educational publications for viola and ensembles, especially for trio combinations with two violins and viola.

Austin Boothroyd
Violist Within Two Years
Following his retirement as teacher in 2019, Boothroyd decided to learn viola, so he could play duets with his wife Sarah, chamber music with friends, and orchestra music with local groups in East Sussex. After just two years of training at home, he made his violist debut in November 21 with the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra.
He maintains his connection to Germany. Whenever possible, he drives to Baden-Baden, where he owns an apartment, and sings enthusiastically with the Philharmonischer Chor Baden-Baden. He always aims to attend the dress rehearsals right before the concerts.

Useful links  

Austin Boothroyd

27 Classic Christmas Carols
for Violin and Viola

Level of difficulty
Grade 1 – 3 (ABRSM)
» to the edition

Pictures from Ernest Hiltenbrand


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