Born in Adelaide, Tobias Lea is one of a family of three musicians. His twin brother
Benedict is a violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and his sister Elinor began her professional career as second violinist with the Australian String Quartet.
Tobias received his early music education from the Flinders Street School of Music in Adelaide with John Gould. Aged 12 he began violin studies with Ronald Woodcock at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide.
He graduated with distinction in 1986 and immediately left for Vienna to continue his studies, changing from violin to viola. After four years of intensive study at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik, with Prof. Siegfried Führlinger, he won the position of Principal Viola of the Teatro alla Scala opera house in Milan under Riccardo Muti. During the following four years he learned a great deal of the opera repertoire and was also invited to join the Quartetto della Scala, giving concerts around the world.
In 1994 Tobias joined his brother Benedict in the combined Vienna Philharmonic and
Austrian State Opera Orchestra, winning the position of Principal Viola. He fosters a lively interest in chamber music, playing with the Vienna Chamber Ensemble amongst various other groups. His extensive experience as a soloist includes performances of Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante” with he Vienna Philharmonic under Riccardo Muti, in Vienna, Japan, Canada, South America and New York’s Carnegie Hall. He also performed Bartok’s Viola Concerto in Vienna’s Musikverein Hall, again with the Vienna Philharmonic under Riccardo Muti.
Working with students is a particular passion of his, and he has held masterclasses all over Europe, as well as in Japan, China, South East Asia, India, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.