Obituary: Tommy Tichauer

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The Independent Online
Toms Alejandro Tichauer Heinemann (Tommy Tichauer), viola player: born Buenos Aires 26 September 1943; married Monica Kosachev (marriage dissolved); died Buenos Aires 14 December 1994.

Tommy Tichauer was the outstanding viola player of his generation in Latin America. He was also one of that small band of courageous Argentinians who were already working in 1982 to heal the wounds of the Falklands war and to rebuild the special bonds offriendship between Britain and Argentina.

Tichauer made his first international excursion to the Swiss Institute of Chamber Music. Ten years later he won a British Council scholarship to the Royal College of Music. There he pursued graduate studies with Frederick Riddle and Cecil Aronowitz, of whom he always spoke with affection and whose style he came to imitate. He later worked with Yehudi Menuhin and Nadia Boulanger as well as Bruno Giuranna.

Tichauer was a co-founder of the Camerata Bariloche, today still the continent's most notable chamber ensemble. He has left numerous recordings with the group, as well as of distinguished chamber-music performances with such musicians as Peter Thomas of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the harpsichordist Monica Cosachev, to whom he was married for a time.

I was lucky enough to play with Tommy Tichauer, in each of the nine concerts of chamber music we presented that needed a viola, over three years at the British Embassy Residence in Buenos Aires. With Tichauer's wit, sensitivity and experience, rehearsalsof Mozart, Schubert and Cesar Franck were a joy as well as an education. His body-language said as much about the music as the sounds he made: swaying gently to the rhythm, his luminous eyes always alert for a signal or a spark of humour, inflecting hisown superb phrasing with raised eyebrow or vigorous head-movement. It was as if he was physically creating the music he was playing.

In 1982 he befriended the journalist Isabel Hilton when she was covering the Falklands war. When he came to Britain the next year to give the first of a series of annual concerts, she provided the launching-pad he needed. At a time when memories of the war were still bitter, Tichauer's lively intelligence and warm personality made him the acceptable face of Argentina for many Britons: he was due back again next month.