He was born in Torroella de Montgrí on either the 13th or the 14th of June 1738. He entered the Choir School at Montserrat in 1748 and studied with Josep A. Martí. After his voice changed, he entered the Noviciate and received his religious name, Anselm. He made his Solemn Vows in 1757 and in 1758 was sent to Madrid in order to complet his studies. During this time there he met several Court musicians such as Francisco Courcelle and José de Nebra and became acquainted many musicians employed by the City’s most important religious musical centers: Josep Picanyol and Antonio Ripa at the Descalzas Reales, Josep Mir i Llussà at the Encarnation, Antoni Soler at El Escorial and Jaume Casellas in Toledo. In 1767 he returned to Montserrat and in 1768 was appointed to the position of Chapel Master, succeeding his former teacher who had passed away in 1763. Viola had many significant students, among them guitarist/composer Ferran Sors. He held this position for thirty years, alongside fellow organist and monk, Narcís Casanovas. Viola’s extant works include ten liturgical compositions, a Villancico, several sonatas and versets for keyboard, exercises for bassoon and the Bassoon Concerto recorded here.
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