Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Daniel Mason


Arthur Bliss’s Sonata for Viola and Piano stands as a significant achievement in early twentieth-century chamber music for viola and is the result of a fruitful collaboration between composer and virtuoso performer. Multiple scholars recognize the sonata as one of Bliss’s finest works. Despite these accolades, the work has failed to attract sustained scholarly investigation. This document provides performers with the necessary tools for a thorough and contextualized presentation of the work. The main body of this study details the technical aspects of performing the sonata: viola technique, expressive challenges, and ensemble concerns. Preceding this, I cover the relevant biographical details from Bliss’s life, examine the roots of his chamber music writing for viola by analyzing two early works, and investigate the collaboration between Lionel Tertis and Bliss in creating this work.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)