September 1940: Death of Camillo Ritter

An obituary on page six of The Glasgow Herald, on Monday the 23rd of September, 1940, reads:






The death of Mr Camillo Ritter at Helensburgh on Saturday has removed a noted violinist

whose associations with Glasgow extended over a lengthy period. He was in his 65th year.


Born in Coblenz, Mr Ritter came to Scotland with his parents at an early age, and in Glasgow

and the West of Scotland made his career, after some years of study in Germany.


His wife, who died many years ago, was a daughter of Dr Anderson Robertson. He is survived

by a son, Dr Erik Ritter.





Camillo Ritter’s musical associations with Glasgow go back almost half a century, and the

family name was familiar in the city at an earlier date through his mother, Madam Ritter-Bondy,

who was a brilliant pianist and a noted teacher.


Ritter showed an aptitude for the violin in his boyhood, and while still in his teens studied for

several years at the Hochschule, Berlin, under Joachim. During those impressionable years he

absorbed the classical outlook of his great master, and from the time of his return to Glasgow

his style and musical sympathies remained always under the Joachim influence.




His standard of performance and interpretation was high, and his  ideal was purity of style. It

was a part of his notable personality that he not only disapproved of modern tendencies in music

but proclaimed his disapproval in many an outspoken criticism. Those of a more open mind found

him intolerant, but no one ever questioned his quality as an artist in music that he accepted.


Latterly he had played little in public, but in earlier years he made many appearances on the concert

platform, where his virtues as a soloist – a highly developed technique and a fine classical quality on

the artistic side – won deserved appreciation.


He was also in his days of public playing a welcome partner in many chamber music enterprises. For

many years he was a member of the Scottish Orchestra, and he also for a few years led the Reid Orchestra

in Edinburgh, under Tovey.




As a teacher he was in the front rank, building up a technical proficiency and a confidence of style in

pupils from all over Scotland. His most famous pupil is William Primrose, whose splendid technical

foundations were well and truly laid by Ritter.


To be with Camillo Ritter when he was in a talkative mood was a rare experience. He would discuss the

past and the present in musical affairs with brilliance and a fund of real humour. Apart from music, his

chief interest was chess. To a friend who asked him for some lessons in chess he said – ‘No. If you have

no aptitude for it we should only waste our time, and if you become a good player you will be playing

chess when you should be attending to business.”



The notice of Ritter’s death is on the front page of the Herald, on Monday the 23rd of September.



George Fairfull-Smith, April 2023.