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He was 88.

Since 1958 he taught at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

He was, simply put, one of the greatest cellists to ever live.

I offer that evaluation as one who was himself as an adolescent a very serious cellist and as one who had the opportunity to play in an orchestra behind him.

perhaps this will give you a sense of his mastery:

He was, according to friends who studied at Indiana, an absolutely superb teacher, as you can see here:

Here are some notices about his death:


from IU

from the Chicago Tribune

Just posted in memorium:

this video bio

and finally, an excerpt from the Kodaly Sonata, which is incredibly difficult for ordinary people:

rest in peace, Maestro Starker!

UPDATEThe Jacobs School of Music at IU has set up this tribute page which if you explore you will gain a sense of his great influence.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 08:56 PM PDT.

Also republished by An Ear for Music and Protest Music.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (28+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 08:56:29 PM PDT

  •  Don't sneeze at IU School of Music contributors. (4+ / 0-)

    Current shining example of their teaching success ins Joshua Bell.  Talent flows through the veins of IU School of Music.

    •  how was I sneezing? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drmah, kaliope, RiveroftheWest, radarlady

      I found out about Starker from the facebook post of a dear college friend of my wife who used to accompany students in his classes and whose husband was one of his students at IU>

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 09:08:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Many of the best string musicians in this country (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      studied at Indiana University. The orchestra I attend most often, the (sadly still locked-out by management) Minnesota Orchestra, particularly benefited from Starker's influence, as the three principal cellists were his students. These include the principal cello, Anthony Ross, the Assistant Principal, Beth Rapier, (who met Ross when they were undergraduates at Indiana; they later married,) and the recently retired Associate Principal, Janet Horvath. Horvath published her own tribute to Starker. An excerpt:

      “You play on a very high level” was the most superlative praise from Starker during lessons. But he believed in us–that we could always achieve greater heights, and we did. My last visit with him he cupped my face with his hands and said, “I am proud of you.” I welled up. This was high praise indeed coming from someone whose compliments were rare.
      Hearing Starker’s transcendent playing of Zoltán Kodály’s Solo Cello Sonata, his signature piece was incomparable. He tossed off  the flashy double note trills and hair-raising passagework with ease.
      Starker was compelling, and provocative as a teacher. He ignited a lifelong spark within us to excel as cellists and musical ambassadors. “Spreading the word” was his fondest wish. Starker hoped that by choosing students from all parts of the globe, cello playing and teaching would improve exponentially as would appreciation of music. He believed in the power of music to achieve universal peace.
      Virtuoso cellist, master pedagogue, articulate advocate and visionary with an unspoken depth, Starker has had an extraordinary impact on cello playing and music making. I will forever be intensely grateful for everything he gave to me and I cannot even begin to say how sorely I will miss him.

      -7.25, -6.26

      We are men of action; lies do not become us.

      by ER Doc on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 12:00:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Grew up in suburban Chicago (4+ / 0-)

    and began attending the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts when I was in early grade school.  Starker was first cellist when I was in jr and sr high school.

  •  I had the privilege of meeting Janos Starker ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... in the mid-1980s, when I worked part-time as a classical music critic for The Washington Post. The concert I covered was on a Saturday night in Alexandria, so I didn't have to post my review until the next afternoon (for the Monday edition). I was invited to the post-concert reception, and engaged in a stimulating conversation with the virtuoso cellist. Needless to say, I was still marveling at his skill when I sat down Sunday afternoon to write my concert review. I still have a copy of the review in my professional portfolio. He will be missed. You are right, Teacherken, he was a giant.

    Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me, "how good, how good does it feel to be free? " And I answer them most mysteriously, "are birds free from the chains of the skyway? " (Bob Dylan)

    by JKTownsend on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 10:10:49 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, teacherken, for this wonderful (5+ / 0-)

    commemoration. Long live Janos!

  •  The Jacobs school (4+ / 0-)

    will have a new Professor of French Horn when Dale Clevenger retires from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this year.

  •  A giant indeed. Brilliant. (5+ / 0-)

    At least the human race had him for almost nine decades.

    I've gotten cynical in my 43 years. I expect the great intellectual and creative giants to die young and tragically, and selfish pricks and oafs who don't give a damn about anything but the next hooker and line of coke to be able to live like mad Roman emperors and live to be 100.

    When Jeff Buckley drowned, I rather bluntly told a friend of mine that the worst most overrated 80's hair metal band in the world could lock themselves in a room with a mountain of tainted cocaine and heroin and consume it all and be perfectly fine, but the next John Lennon would get a paper cut and die of a horrible unstoppable infection in 24 hours, or slip in the shower and drown.

    88 years is a good long run in this ugly world of ours. 500 years from now, music students will still be drinking his contributions in with awe and appreciation.

    Still, he will be greatly missed. Such a wonderful gift.

    Thank you for introducing his mastery to me.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 12:11:46 AM PDT

  •  enormous loss, but an even more enormous legacy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, ER Doc

    Makes one sad to think how the US was such an attraction for musical, artistic, creative, mathematical, and scientific prodigies for so, so long. Einstein, Horowitz, Fermi, Rubenstein, Stravinsky . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Now, not so much. We attract desperate poor people as we always have, but other people are looking at us more nervously since Iraq and wiretapping and radical "christianity." It reminds one of the Viet Nam war period, when much of the civilized world (and I don't mean that parts with lots of money) looked at us a barbaric aggressor against a nation of rice growing peasants. Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.

    Farewell to a giant. Bracketed by Casals and Ma, Starker is one of the mileposts in the legacy of the instrument.

    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

    by p gorden lippy on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 05:08:20 AM PDT

    •  but remember how many were fleeing facism (3+ / 0-)

      in Starker's case, he and his parents survived the Holocaust (he's Jewish) but his two older brothers did not.  He himself spent several months in a concentration camp.

      he was part of a large group after the war known as Displaced Persons, unable to return to their homes, some of whom if Jewish eventually got to Palestine, many of various backgrounds who came to the US.

      We still get many people who are displaced by conflict and strife -  sometimes they are artists and intellectuals, far more often they are merely ordinary folks seeking a better life.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 05:24:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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