Malcolm Porter Violas

Viola maker in Southampton, UK.


I studied violin and viola with Anne Macnaghten, John Glickman, Joan Spencer and Frederick Grinke, graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and played viola in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

I later taught class music in various schools for a number of years, and completed my teaching career at a sixth form college teaching A level music and conducting and coaching advanced levels of orchestral and chamber music.

I then trained under Shem Mackey and Jonathan Hill at West Dean College, making a tenor viol and bow, and went on to attend classes at South Thames College under the tutelage of Keith Graves.

I delight in researching the mysteries of viola making, with a particular focus on seeking to create instruments which are not only refined in appearance, but also very sympathetic to the player, and above all, glorious on the ear.

Whilst I continue to experiment with different sizes, proportions and shapes, currently I have two favoured models. The smaller is based on the 1580 ‘Kievman’ viola by Gasparo da Salo, with a back length of 394mm (15.5″). The larger model was originally based on the 1949 Diploma viola by Clifford Hoing, and has a back length of about 413mm (16.25″). Full details of these two models can be found on the Instruments page.

When it comes to choosing an instrument, I can offer help and guidance, or I can stay out of the way, as the customer wishes. Some players less experienced in trying out instruments seem to appreciate the guidance, along with some demonstration, and maybe also the reading of some simple viola duets so as to experience something of the instrument in a musical context. My background as both a professional player and as a teacher can be valuable here.

Please message me via the Contact page to find out which instruments are currently available. If you would like to try any of them, we can make arrangements for a visit via the Contact page, and I can try to answer any further questions. The violas range in price from  £3,000  to  £4,000. 



If you would like to arrange a Southampton visit to try out the violas, or if you have any other queries, please complete the boxes below and send me a message.

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