As we honor the life of Distinguished Professor Janos Starker, you are invited to leave your thoughts and remembrances. Please scroll to the bottom of this page to place your comments.

114 Responses to Remembrances

  1. Coco Hu says:

    Although I don’t have any personal connection with Mr. Starker, I just want to appreciate him for bringing so many great works to the world. His performance of the Bach Suites for Solo Cello guided me to the world of classic music and had been my favorite piece every since.

    His playing brings radiance to his cello and my world, encourages me to rethink and reshape my life and inspires humanity all the way to the future.

    Thank you, Mr Starker, for leaving the world with an immortal note of your legendary talent.

  2. Amarilis Dueñas Castán says:

    I could say many things about Mr. Starker, but the best one I can say is “thanks”. Thanks for your generosity, Mr. Starker, for shearing your knowledge with all of us, from the basics of cello technique to the highest musical explanation of a musical piece. You changed the world of music, and indirectly you are making my dream possible. I met Frau Kliegel 5 years ago, and receive all what you taught to her in those years when she was in Indiana. And that’s just because you have been able to teach something that no every teacher can: to teach, to be generous with the cellist or cellists there are in front of you, trembling because of having you there listening to them.
    And that is really what I most admire, to make people feel good with their instrument, to show people how to enjoy music, and to show that it’s not that difficult to share your knowledge with the others, because in that way, generosity, something that it’s not very easy to find in the world of nowadays, will little by little reach more and more people. And that’s a contribution that we should all thank Mr. Starker.
    Thanks, Mr. Starker, an authentic cellist and master.

    Valladolid, Spain

  3. Jerry Horner says:

    Whether or not there is an afterlife, true immortality exists in the memory of those who survive us. Janos Starker’s legacy will live as long as there is any thought of the cello. He was at the same time an artist and a scientist of the playing of the instrument. His influence is immeasurable.

  4. Eva Szekely says:

    Though I had hoped to be there for the memorial, regrettably I will not be able to attend. My sincerest condolences to the whole family and to all of us who had the privilege of knowing, learning from and being inspired by the incomparable artist and pedagogue Janos Starker. His powerful presence will be sorely missed, but his legendary performances, profound commitment and love of the art of music will remain our shining example to follow and share for generations to come.

    Thank you for everything Mr. Starker!

  5. Robert J Harrison, Professor of Voice says:

    It was over 40 years ago that I, as a college voice student, was introduced to a recording of Janos Starker, performing the Bach Cello Suites. One of my favorite professors handed the recording to me and told me to listen to it; he deemed it an important recording, one that I should know and from which I learn. Then, enthralled in what I heard, I could not have imagined that years later I would teach at the same university as the legendary Starker. Since our studios were simply a few days apart in the “round music building,” I had the pleasure to see him amble from his car to his studio. I, in time, mustered the courage to speak to him–initially, greeting him, only. Later, he would pause, and we would have brief conversations–most instructive ones for me about the musical art and the teaching of it. During those brief discussions—I spent more time listening to him, rather than speak— I learned mounds of invaluable information about the aural art, and about how to teach it. During our conversations, I learned that he was tireless, and selfless teacher of it–and that he was intolerant of anyone who did not commit his/her entirety to its study. I can think of no better legacy to Mr. Starker than for every school of music within this nation, including our own, be staffed with hard-nosed, competent, and selfless teachers of the musical art, who are not afraid whatsoever to state to their students, “My job is to upset you.”

  6. Fanny Bray-Marks says:

    Mr Starker greatly influenced all of my musical life as a cellist-
    Having worked as a child and teenager with various of his former students in France, my dream was to go and meet the Master in person.
    I did so about 13 years ago and the year I spent teaching with him will stay engraved in me as the most magical musical moments in my life.
    He wasn’t just a cellist but a Musician in the most sacred meaning of the word encompassing music and life as a whole.
    He would not just observe you and listen to you at a given moment in the renown MA155 but try and give you advice for your whole future life.

    I had heard some stories about his coldness and lack of feelings… What I found then was only warmth and an unlimited generosity of giving all what he had found himself to any living soul who cared about music!
    This amazing pedagogical gift makes him the most influential teacher of the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Last but not least, I will never forget seeing his sparkling little eyes shine beautifully each time I would come back from Europe to Bloomington to introduce a new child of mine. These eyes had seen a lot…I just learnt reading the obituary that he had lost both of his brothers in a concentration camp…

    Rest in Peace Janos-

  7. Wilmer Fawcett says:

    How fortunate I was to be a graduate student at IU in 1970 with so many distinguished string teachers on the faculty, especially Josef Gingold and Janos Starker. I’ll never forget my entrance jury in which I was to play for the “string dept.”, not realizing just which illustrious musicians I would be playing for. I chose and prepared some obscure selection by Dragonetti, thinking as a bassist I would play a real bass piece. What those incredible artists must have endured in that half-hour! I am ever grateful for the tolerance and patience they showed, which just showed me what wonderful persons, teachers and musicians they really were. That was as close to Mr. Starker as my studies brought me, but I enjoyed friendship as colleagues with his daughter Gwen in subsequent years, performing summer chamber music at Orcas Island. RIP and thank you for a lovely memory.

  8. Louise Dubin says:

    I learned so much from Mr. Starker’s teaching that it took several years to process it all, and I’m not done yet. It was one of the greatest privileges of my life to study with him. His teaching was so personalized to my needs that I didn’t realize at first that I was learning a musical and technical language that I’d have in common with generations of his students. I plagiarize from his ideas in my own teaching constantly.

    Mr. Starker thought talent was a responsibility- so the expectation of hard work was a given- and he respected the learning process he guided us into (‘It will seem at first like you can’t play as well as you used to.’) He was skilled at teasing us about bad habits to get us to stop doing them (my audible descending slides caused him to say “not after my lunch.”) But he was also skilled at confidence-building, because he simplified technical problems with elegant solutions that worked. These were further clarified by his imagery– for example, the grazioso gesture of the 2nd phrase of the solo cello theme of Strauss’s Don Quixote was Quixote lifting his hat to a lady going by. Mr. Starker was a genius musician with an analytical mind who, fortunately for us, actually enjoyed explaining how he did things and searching for universal principles. Mr. Starker spoke with compassion and humor about teaching, orchestral playing, chamber music, and solo playing, having filled all these roles. Several months after leaving school I called him from abroad to ask his advice about a bewildering situation at my first full time orchestral job. He quickly suggested 2 or 3 courses of action; he also reassured me by telling me a story from his days in the CSO.

    In 2004, he published his Memoir, “The World of Music According to Starker.” In December of that year, I broadcast a radio show devoted to Starker at Columbia University’s radio station WKCR, and I interviewed him by phone. I’d never heard him mention what he and his family had faced in WW II, but since he referred to it in his book I asked him, “Do you think that living through all that you did changed your priorities as a musician on some level?” His off-the-cuff response: “Look, the only way to answer this particular question is that all the events in one’s life affects one’s thought processes, behavior, and feelings, and philosophies and so on. The changes caused by those events in my life are not just cellistic issues, and not just music issues, but the way I view the world, and the way I view cello-playing as well, and teaching, and obligations, responsibility towards one’s profession. And above all, the word professionalism—you never know what demands will be put to you in your existence as a musician. So you have to be prepared to fulfill any demands, and that requires professionalism.” Mr. Starker’s musicianship and his positive attitude remain a huge inspiration to me. It’s hard to believe his strong spirit is no longer here. I’m sending warm thoughts to his family, and I hope it’s some comfort to them to read these accounts of how he changed so many of us for the better.

  9. Ed Laut says:

    I was 18 years old when I had my first lesson with Starker. Understandably, I was nearly paralyzed with apprehension and awe. Observing my distress, he said “If we are to work together, we must be friends.” He then proceeded to teach me how to control my nerves with a yoga breathing exercise. He told me that evenly paced breathing has a regulating effect on the heartbeat, countering the disruptive aspect of nerves while preserving the heightened intensity needed in performance.

    It was the perfect way for me to start my studies with him not only because he put me at ease (relatively!) and set up our four year working relationship, but also, his logical and ordered explanation of nerves introduced me to the process of observing the results of many other chains of cause and effect and how to use these observations to achieve understanding and control. This, in fact, was the essence of his teaching method. Founded on a firm set of musical and technical principles, this method permits a cellist to explore a personal musical expression that is valid regardless of any stylistic differences.

    At a recent interview, Starker was asked,”What if your students go to other teachers and, as a result, now play differently? What then, Mr. Starker?!” Starker smiled and replied, “If they studied with me, no matter how they now play they will always play in good taste.”

    Ed Laut

  10. John Marshall says:

    Dear Mr. Starker – On the anniversary of your birthday, I want to thank you for all you added to our world. A day does not go by when I do not think of your performance, teaching, or quotes. It was an honor and privilege to be able to study with you, and I consider it my duty to pass your wisdom on to future generations. We are so blessed that your legacy will continue through your recordings, videos, and writings – you will always be “King of Cellists”.

    Forever Your Student, John Marshall

  11. Luis Luque says:

    Nagyon Koszonom Jancsi bacsi! Eternal life for you! thanks for show us the way to be honest in practice and life, and, to do something for an better next generation of artist. With happyness, I wish nice journey together with professors Sebok and Gingold!
    From Hungary,
    Luis Luque

  12. Joshua Howard says:

    June 3, 2013


    驚悉敬愛的艺术大师Jánòs Starker 过世了。您的学生,中国,北京,中央音乐学院大提琴教授,挚友,万分的悲痛。

    P.R. of China
    Central Conservatory of Music
    Prof. of Cello
    Ch’uän Ju Shih

    June 3, 2013

    A Remembrance and prayer

    I was distressed to learn my beloved artist, master Jánòs Starker has passed away. Your student and close friend, professor of cello at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China is heartbroken.

    You were my great teacher and helpful friend.

    I knew you well for many years. Starting in 1985 I studied at your side and researched cello pedagogy. Although I returned to my country to teach in Beijing I always treasured your teaching and guidance as well as your loving care for my circumstances. I was blessed to have forged such a strong teacher-student bond, one that even surpassed family relations.

    Please rest in peace, may we meet again.

    I respectfully send my heartfelt condolences to your family.

    P.R. of China
    Central Conservatory of Music
    Prof. of Cello
    Ch’uän Ju Shih

  13. Nina Ehrlich says:

    Dear Mr. Starker,
    The afternoon of your death, one of my former students (your cello grandchild) called to tell me the sad news and to ask my advice. He was about to go on the air at our local NPR station and wanted to dedicate the evening to your recordings. We agreed upon on of the Bach series (d minor), Dvorak concerto, the Spanish pieces, and (of course) Kol Nidre. Between pieces, he read anecdotes and comments from the press. On Monday morning, I made a shrine on my bulletin board. It was there for 2 weeks and there was almost always someone reading about you or looking at pictures. (The favorite was you in knee britches and that hair cut!) I cried. But I was cheered to remember that the same day one of my high school students (another of your grandchildren) received the highest scholarship from our local youth symphony. Her dream is to take her music back to China and then bring Chinese music for cello to America. In this very direct way, your legacy continues on through us.
    Next spring at our community Yom Hashoah service, a candle will be lit for you and other artists who survived. The lighters will be my youngest and oldest students, ages 8 and 22. They know how lucky they are–and so do I–to have been a part of your life.
    Oh–and thanks for forcing me to make hard decisions. It’s paid off everyday.

  14. I visited the Starkers in 1997 both as a family visit (I am his distant cousin) and to plan a reissue on my Parnassus label of “The Road to Cello Playing.” (It did come out and it remains available.) During those few days I heard a great number of wonderful stories from Janos, of which the following was my favorite.

    As was well known, Janos was willing to look at any contemporary score given to him. One night, after a concert, a composer approached him with a copy of his new cello sonata. Janos took the score and told the man he would look at it, but that he had a large pile of such scores and that it could take him six months to get to this one.

    After a couple of months, the composer called Janos to ask if he had looked at the score. Not yet, he was told. The man called again the following month, and again the month after. On the third call, when Janos had still not seen the score, he had a very rare lapse in judgment. He told the man he was playing a concert in his home city in two months and would play the piece there. After the call, he dug the score out of the pile and looked at it. Then he and a pianist read through it. “I had no idea what it was about,” Janos said. But he decided to honor his promise. He and the pianist worked on the score for the remaining two months, and although they learned to play the notes they still had no idea of the composer’s intentions.

    After the performance, the composer came backstage with tears in his eyes, and told Janos he had just heard the most beautiful performance of any of his music that he had ever heard in his lifetime.

    During my visit, Janos and I listened to several tapes of his live performances to plan possible publications, which alas have not materialized yet. At one point, he turned to me and said, “I don’t know why we have to listen to these recordings. In those days I made no mistakes.” And in fact, we heard none.

  15. Isabelle Trub says:

    Dear Mr Starker, Ever since that memorable ‘cello lesson I attended in your studio at IU, in 1980, your example and precious advice has helped me grow into a better musician and, maybe most importantly of all, into a better human being. (I have had the good fortune of playing the piano for many of your students over the years, in Bloomington as well as in Europe). I can honestly say that not one day passes without remembering your principles and kindness, humour and extreme intelligence – be it when I am onstage, in the classroom, or simply at home with my family. Thank you for your generosity et… ce n’est qu’un au revoir… isabelle

  16. Maureen Diane Michels says:

    I was very saddened to hear of Mr. Starker’s passing last month. It’s actually taken me a few weeks to gather my thoughts.
    I feel so lucky to have known Janos Starker, not only because he was one of the world’s greatest cellists, but also because he was a great mentor and friend. Although I am a violist, I attended every Saturday morning Master Class that I could, as well as every recital and solo performance outside of Bloomington, including an infamous road trip to NYC w/ I and M to hear JS perform the Dave Baker Cello Sonata…What fun. I had many friends who studied with him over my 5 years at Indiana. In those days, we music students were like a big family with little regard about anything but musical passion and desire to learn. We had many gatherings discussing politics, duty, war, faith, music. To this day I hear those conversations as if they were occurring now.
    Mr. Starker encouraged me to study with William Primrose, which I did. My first professional job was with the Knoxville Symphony, the year Mr. Starker premiered the Bartok “Cello” Concerto under Zoltan Rozsnyai, the founder of the Philharmonia Hungarica. This concert was so much fun because, of course, in my eyes it was THE Bartok VIOLA Concerto commissioned by Mr. Primrose after all. I will never forget the performance, top of the 2nd page, last movement. As Janos had turned around, smiling proudly at my section, I realized he was going to miss the “CCCB” sixteenth note passage after the orch. tutti…so I loudly played those notes instinctively…and he jumped into place to finish the movement. We laughed about it so much after the concert. That’s music making!
    JS was truly one of the Greats. He loved his students as much as the music. A great soul.

  17. Dear Janos,
    First I want to send you love from planet earth where inspired and glorious performances, that you deeply affected and guided, are continuing to be performed here. I want to thank you for one of the most thrilling coachings you gave to me in 1973 on the JS Bach Solo Flute Partita, (when I was commencing my first professional appointment with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra), the thrust of which was the permission to BREATHE! As your colleague years later at IU, I marveled at your teaching and the impact that you had upon your students, many of whom I performed and collaborated with. I thank you for these gifts and so many more.
    To your family, I want to send my heartfelt condolences and support. The legacy of Mr. Starker is felt profoundly, and lives on palpably. With my very warmest wishes and thoughts,

  18. Marc Coppey says:

    “The world is poorer now that he has left” were the words of János Starker as a tribute to those he revered. This is how we feel now that he passed away.
    But who, in the long history of music interpretation, has left a more universal legacy to inspire and support generations, enriching the world by his unique artistry and lifelong dedication to others, only for the sake of music, transmitting the highest values of art and humanity: those which, because they are higher than individuals, make us greater and allow us to stand together.
    Those who had the chance and the honor to know you, dear Mister Starker, are privileged to do their best to prolong the flame which was enlightening you and pass it on to the generations which are following you.

  19. Janos Starker, violoncello virtuoso, consummate musician, devoted pedagogue, is no longer with us. His wit, charm, magical turn of phrase, his devotion to the Arts and the Young who will further them, has been silenced. Every muted voice that had sounded a positive, constructive, human note among the discordant cries of the ignorant, the fanatic, the militant, is a grievous loss to humanity.

    I remember his delicate interpretation of the Haydn ‘cello concerto I was privileged to accompany (Israel Philharmonic), his collaborative music-making when we played the Kodaly duo for violon and ‘cello…just the two of us at my home in Castleton, Virginia…his invaluable contribution to the decisions taken by the Loan Committee of the Nippon Music Foundation when deliberating to which worthy performing artist a specific Stradivarius should be lent, his decades-long nurturing of young musicians at Bloomington, Indiana. He is now joined in death to the select few whose lives and deeds have brought light and solace to humankind.

  20. Michael Kempa says:

    Von 1978-1980 studierte ich bei Prof.Starker an der Folkwang Hochschule für Musik in Essen. Erst durch ihn habe ich begriffen was Cellospielen und Musik überhaupt bedeutet.
    Einer der letzten großen Cellisten, Menschen und Musiker ist nicht mehr.
    Ein großer, unersetzbarer Verlust. Sein Spiel war mehr als Cellospielen, es ging direkt in die Herzen der Menschen.
    Man mußte ihn einfach lieben.

  21. Karen Shaw says:

    Janos Starker, a musician of worldwide recognition, still found time to be supportive of me, both as a student at IU School of Music, and later as a faculty member. Knowing him was an honor and a privilege.
    Karen Shaw
    Professor of Piano

  22. Patrick says:

    I never met the man in person but was, and continue to be, moved by his recordings. The ‘maestro’ term gets used too often these days but in Janos Starker’s case, it was justified. As his work shows, one can find meaning, variation and life in music, which reveals a force that is beyond our routine experience. The stories of his students show a passionate, committed educator, the type that too often now is lost to the business-leaning academy that confuses value with profit, and students with customers. Well done IU for creating a space where true art and real education could exist. And let’s raise a glass to the incomparable Janos, as yet he lives.

  23. Deya Deynova says:

    It took me almost a week to come to my senses and write something on this site.I would like to join the rest of the cello family and express my deep greatfullness and love towards all Mr.Starker though us ,and gave us as a knowledge and experience. I met Mr.Starker in Eupora,when I was 14,and he invited me to come to Bloomigton and join his class. Since that moment he has been main influence and inspiration for my development as a musician.
    We all have been blassed to meet and work with such a profound artist and irreplaceable teacher.He will always be a part of our every day music making.Thank you,thank you,thank you!

  24. Nancy Kozak Hopper says:

    I remember hearing Dr. Starker’s gorgeous recitals at IU from 1960-1964 when I was a Gingold scholarship student. My husband, Bill, and I were so impressed also because Mr. Starker, as he was known then, would go back to his studio immediately after a recital to practice a passage he had not played as he wanted. His autobiography is a must read. I also wanted to thank him for helping Mr. Gingold get his violin back (the true love of his life along with Mrs. Gingold) when his son, George Gingold, tried to keep it. I’m sorry I never got around to thanking him, as Mr. Gingold was like a second father to me. I’m so sorry for Dr. Starker’s family. They are in my prayers.

  25. Matthias Lanz says:

    The years with Mr. Janos Starker will always be remembered as wonderful and most inspiring.


  26. Dash Nesbitt says:

    These stories would be wonderful to compile into a book. A similar approach was taken after the death of the great violinist/conductor Alexander Schneider of the Budapest Quartet and New York String Orchestra fame. The remembrances were touching and extremely inspiring; this could be a wonderful way to further Mr. Starker’s musical influence to untold future generations! Please consider!!

    From the Jacobs School: Dear Mr. Nesbitt – many thanks for your suggestion! In the meantime, we will make sure that this memorial site is preserved indefinitely.

  27. Mark Friedhoff says:

    When I first arrived in Bloomington to begin my studies with Mr. Starker I had to stop by at Mr. Dahl’s violin shop the first week. I told him I had come to study with Mr. Starker and he replied, “Well, you are in for a marvelous experience.” Three years later I could confirm his prediction a hundred times over- it had been the most marvelous experience of my life. Mr. Starker not only formed his students, he transformed them. I was simply another person thanks to him. Never before had I felt such a sense of freedom sitting at my cello. He gave us the power to surpass ourselves almost daily, and by his example he emboldened us to do just that. We owe him everything. He will have our eternal gratitude for those golden years with him in Bloomington.

  28. Manuel Angel Gonzalez says:

    Deeply saddened , as Mr. Starker was my first inspiration,and always my favorite cellist, I treasure his recording of the 6 J.S. Bach cello suites on the Mercury label in vinyl to this day ,which I bought almost 40 years ago.
    My condolences to his family & close friends.

  29. R. Keats Rivas says:

    Master Starker, it was very sad to see that you are no longer with us. I heard and watched many great things about you. What a cellist you were, with such beauty and elegance. I was heartbroken to see this perish. May you rest in peace and you continue to be an inspiration to us all!!

  30. Paula Royce-Bravo says:

    Although I studied violin with the late Franco Gulli at IU School of Music from 1974 until 1978, I did attend many of Prof. Janos Starker’s master classes and even performed for him at one of them. He could not only teach cellists, he could teach almost any instrumentalist because he knew how to use the body correctly and to it’s best but most economical advantage in order to serve the music and.. tastefully! Once he was demonstrating somthing by playing a movement of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata and I was moved to tears. At another master class I remember a hilarious joke (true story) he told about one asian cello student whose recital he was not able to attend. At the student’s next lesson Mr. Starker asked him how the recital had gone, and got the reply: “Velly good! I prayed and prayed and they crapped and crapped!” He taught us how to breath, how to feel the music with our whole body, gave us tips on the hardships of the life as a professional musician and some of the hardships which now I understand after many years playing in an opera orchestra (although I never had to perform a solo concerto with high fever as he mentioned did once). Once he gave the advice, ” If you’re tired keep playing. If it hurts, then stop.” He prepared his students for life… as hard as he knew it could be. What more love could a teacher give to his students and other future musicians than this? Thank you Mr. Starker. Heaven has surely welcomed you. We will never forget you.
    My sincere condolences to the family.

  31. Lois Landis Kurowski, Fairfax, VA says:

    To Gabriella– Dear Gabi, I remember our conversations about your father when we were together in Lima in 1972. What a journey it is to travel with our parents from our childhood to their old age and death, encountering joy, sweetness, pain and sorrow along the way. My thoughts and prayers are with you especially as you mourn your extraordinary father. With love, Lois

  32. Tomasz J. Wojciechowski says:

    In my thirtieths, I realized there is something not quite right with my cello playing, so, at the tender age of forty I knocked to Prof. Starker’s studio asking him to be admitted to his class. Well, as the saying goes :”ignorance is a bliss,” for I didn’t envision what journey I’m about to embark on. Thanks to the gentle force of “the force greater than life” the journey continuous to this day.
    Thank you so much Master!

  33. Elizabeth Dolin says:

    I had the privilege of studying with Mr. Starker in Bloomington in the early 80s and have always felt a part of a “family” since, having kept in touch with him over the years. His style of playing and teaching appealed strongly to me with its natural use of arm weight to produce sound; the ease, fluency and elegance of his phrasing were so inspiring. In my teaching today, I find myself constantly passing on those wonderful principles that I learned from him. He had a profound impact on my life as a musician and cellist. He was the most caring, brilliant, inspired person I ever met and we have all lost a giant.

    My heart goes out to Mrs. Starker and his family.

  34. Janos Starker war und ist einzigartig !

  35. Antonio D'Antonio says:

    Unfortunately I never had the chance to meet the legendary Maestro Janos Starker, but I personally know Mrs. Maria Kliegel (his student and one of the greatest cellists and teachers of our days) who told me about the great qualities of Starker in terms of teaching,artistic and human….such special people should never die, but however, they will continue to enlighten our lives to the tireless search for purity of musical art…..
    Thanks a lot for everything, Maestro Janos Starker
    Antonio D’Antonio,cellist from Roseto degli Abruzzi—Italy

  36. Long before I knew where Indiana was, I knew that the cellist Janos Starker lived and taught in a place called Bloomington. During my time on the faculty of the IU School of Music I learned to know and appreciate that his fame was well-deserved for both musical and extra-musical reasons. He was an inspiration to all of us, not only to his students.

    I am privileged to have known and worked with him, and to have attended and recorded some of his master classes. Although our paths did not often cross, he supported my work with the community orchestras of Indiana by coming to play the Dvorak Concerto with me in Carmel (at a much reduced fee) and by playing, together with his daughter Gwen, the Brahms Double Concerto with me at my last concert with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. Of course, he knew all aspects of these pieces intimately, and during rehearsals offered crucial helpful suggestions (sotto voce) with words delivered succinctly and with a kindness and sensitivity such as I have rarely encountered from the soloists that I have accompanied.

    In the first half of the same BSO concert we had given the world première of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Seventh Symphony (the “Bloomington” Symphony). A year earlier I had visited Starker in his studio to ask him to contribute to the costs of commissioning this work. His first reaction was “Why? Your orchestra should not be doing this!” I told him that, while I had conducted many premières by excellent Indiana composers with the orchestra during my term as music director, I wanted to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a substantial piece, written by an internationally known composer with the characteristics of the ensemble taken into account. “Hmmm. … Who do I make the check out to?”

    His attitude to music and to life will continue to be a constant inspiration to me. We are all the poorer for his passing and I send my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

  37. I was honored, privileged and delighted to know, be befriended and supported by the great, unique and truly wonderful Janos Starker during my years as Director of The Kinsey Institute and Professor of Psychology at Indiana University. The world is that much less bright with the Maestro gone. Beyond being a world-renowned genius, he was personally courageous and supported those he believed were right, even when it was unpopular. He was an amazing teacher and I learned so much from watching him teach his master classes. Listening to him play and being fortunate enough to receive his guidance on university politics, and to hear his reflections on life and art were a great privilege. I can only imagine his family’s feelings of loss. Everyday he is no longer in this world, there will be far less music for all of us.

  38. Diana Fish says:

    Thank you Mr. Starker for inspiring me, challenging me, and believing in me. I feel I have continued to grow as a cellist, musician, and person throughout my career because of my time as your student. Playing and teaching have more meaning because of you.
    You made your class and the entire community of cellists feel like we belonged to a very special family. I’m sure all of your students will do our best to pass your teachings on. We will never forget you.

    Diana Fish

  39. I was honored, privileged and delighted to know, be befriended and supported by the great, unique and truly wonderful Janos Starker during my years as Director of The Kinsey Institute and Professor of Psychology at Indiana University. The world is that much less bright with the Maestro gone. Beyond being a world-renowned genius, he was personally courageous and supported those he believed were right, even if it was unpopular. He was an amazing teacher and I learned so much from watching him teach his master classes. Listening to him play and being fortunate enough to receive his guidance on university politics, and to hear his reflections on life and art were a great privilege. I can only imagine his family’s feelings of loss. Everyday he is no longer in this world, the will be far less music for all of us.

  40. In remembrance of Janci, Ronald Hedlund ( IU ’55) and Barbara Hedlund send condolences to Rae & the Starker family for the loss of their beloved Janos. He left such a wide ranging legacy to the music world, profoundly touching the lives of all whom he came across. Since 1968, Barbara was privileged to have been enriched and blessed by his artistry, knowledge, generosity, and respectful, collegial support.

  41. Babara Chilcutt Rowe says:

    1948, I was a member of the Dallas Symphony (viola) and remember well when Antal Dorati introduced us to our new celist from Hungary.
    He also brought another cellist from Europe, Lev Aronson. With the new addition of these two amazing cellist, the sound from cello section was byond description.
    We adored Janos, unfortunately for Dallas he moved on to be appreciated as he deserved.
    Lev remained In Dallas and taught at SMU.
    How wonderful to have these memories of such a fantastic musicians.

  42. Thor Urness says:

    I first heard Professor Starker in a recording of the Boccherini B-flat major in Turkey, circa 1972, when I was about 8. My father was a musician and had a huge record collection. I listened to every one of his hundreds of records at least once, trying to find music I liked, and would play this recording over and over, loudly, with headphones — like other kids were probably listening to rock and roll. I later learned to play the cello, probably due in part to having heard from that recording what a cello could sound like, but knew I was not going to be a professional musician.
    By happenstance I transferred to Indiana University and, although I was a political science major, I decided to forego a double major and took classes I wanted to take, from ceramics to architectural history to a course on Wagner’s Ring, another on Paris and Berlin in the 1920s, and lots of other great courses from the bewildering offerings that only a large university like IU can provide. I also decided to take a semester of cello lessons, not having played in several years. I would up drawing a graduate student of Professor Starker’s as my teacher, but when I registered I had no idea I would study under one of his students. Or that my final examination would be a performance before him.
    When it came time for my jury I was absolutely terrified. I knew Professor Starker was one of the world’s greatest cellists, but I also I knew him by his reputation in musical circles as a stern taskmaster. I expected to be ripped apart, likely deservedly so, since I knew that no matter how much I practiced and how well I played, the pressure of performing for him was going to be affect my playing.
    I have absolutely no memory of how I played, but I will always remember how well he treated me in that jury. He could not have been more kind, gracious and encouraging. I got an “A,” but as I look back on it, he gave me the greater gift of confidence to pursue extraordinary experiences and challenges. He knew there was no reason I was taking that class other than for the fun and challenge of it.
    If the sum of our life is composed of how we treat others in our fleeting moments with them, without regard to anything else – as it must be, at least in part – Professor Starker must have lived a great life. I’ll leave it to the experts as to who was or is the best cellist or cello teacher in the world. But if he was as good as it gets, not just as a teacher of music, but of how to treat others, that would be just fine.

  43. Delaine Jackson Salt says:

    I feel I was so fortunate to study with Mr. Starker, 1962-66. Through sitting for Gwen and also, being hired to help at their parties, I was able to get to know the family. Remember his organizing cars to take all the students down for a picnic down in Brown County one fall. Mr. Starker appeared with the Phoenix Symphony twice while I was playing in the symphony and that was a thrill. Especially enjoyed my time at the 1986 Cello Congress at IU. At that time, Mr. Starker invited former students over to their home for a party. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time looking on internet, seeing interviews and watching videos of him. Wonderful in this age that we can see those. So many wonderful memories. He was a great performer, teacher and person. Condolences to Mrs. Starker and the family.

  44. Pu Chen says:

    Dear Prof. Starker
    you are the greatest cellist in my heart,you are the angel in the music world!
    love you and your music for ever! amen….

  45. Felipe Leon says:

    I only met Mr. Starker once in my life. I was a student at the University of Central Arkansas and I played for him in a masterclass and heard him play together with my teacher Felice Farrell a Boccherini sonata and a Bach suite. It was a wonderful experience and through the years specially in the last five years I watched all his videos, how he teached and it reall changed my vision of the cello. I realized that he was a heritage of the great masters of the nineteenth century like Alfredo Piatti and David Popper. I met him once but I am very sad to know about his passing away, just like if I had studied with him for many years. He was a great cellist and a true artist.

  46. Edith Salzmann says:

    Like many other cellists have said here already, there is not a single day in my teaching and performing life where I don’t think of Janos Starker, my teacher from 1989 – 92 who taught me to how find solutions for technical and musical problems.
    I owe him so much, my life would certainly have been very different if I wouldn’t have had the chance to learn from him.

  47. Joyce R. says:

    This hurts. The man was larger than life . . . brutally honest on the one hand–in the name of training us all for the rigors he sustained giving 100+ performances a year. Then he’d impishly smile and say he smoked because his “mommy told him not to,” besides selling Eva Heinitz’s cello for scholarships for us all on the other . . .

    I cried. I cried until I came upon his NYT obit and laughed. I remembered early lessons with Dr. Winold and her relay of the performers in our line . . . Friederich Dotzauer & Bernhardt Romberg (who both inspired Beethoven and found him wanting), Friederich Kummer, Julius Goltermann, Adolf Shiffer (who played with Brahms), and the immortal Janos Starker. Then I breathed and watched YouTube videos of the 100+ cellists playing Emilio Colon’s amazing Popper for the 75th birthday celebration (thank you Emilio). Starker lives on. He lives on in us.

  48. Professor Starker always said hello to me while I was a students at Indiana University School of Music. (I studied before “all” was called Jacob School of Music, 86-87.) For whatever reason, are paths/schedules crossed, and we would always pass each other on the west lower level hallway of the “old building”, and he would always say hello to me. Of course I would say hello too. Though not a cello student or string student I knew who he was, I suppose through conversations. This mutual greeting went on for my time at I.U. – 1982-1986. Finally toward the end of my time at I.U., I said to him that he always said hello to me and that I always thought that was nice. He said something like that’s what people do, it’s polite. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he was nice. For a struggling student his greeting was always uplifting. I never knew until tonight that he spent three months in a concentration camp and that his two brothers died in one.

    My seven year old son is studying the cello. Tonight on we watched Professor Starker play the unaccompanied Kodaly Sonata, Movement I, 07-29-1988. My son said, “Yo Yo Ma can’t play that good”

  49. Matthew Probst says:

    Merely _watching_ him teach a master class to other far more qualified cellists vastly improved my technique, from impossibly bad to minimally passable, over the course of a few days. Just _watching_ how he approached the instrument had such a massive, sudden effect.

    I did not have the talent to follow the path of a professional musician, but his skill at teaching vastly improved my musical life–even though we never spoke with each other.

  50. Richard Stehr says:

    I’m not a musician or in any way connected with Indiana University, but I am an ardent classical music fan — and, like Starker, of Hungarian Jewish heritage (on my father’s side at least) — who had the good fortune to win tickets to a Janos Starker recital at UCLA’s Royce Hall in the 1970s. I also have the pleasure of possessing several great Starker recordings, including the cello concertos of Saint-Saens, Lalo, and Schumann; as long as I have those CDs to listen to and enjoy, Janos Starker will remain alive.

  51. David Sims says:

    I still remember the very first time I heard Mr. Starker on LP…spellbound by his dazzling technique and rich full tone, my adrenaline surged. That was the Mercury recording of the Dvorak concerto with Dorati and the London Symphony (still, to my mind, the very best Dvorak recorded by anyone). Later, the Brahms sonatas with Mr. Sebok and the insanely marvellous Beethoven Triple with Henryk Szeryng and Claudio Arrau…and the Bach gamba sonatas, and the Mercury suites.

    Later, while a high school student at Tanglewood, I heard Mr. Starker perform the Schumann concerto with the Boston Symphony (sublime) and on my way home to the midwest I stopped and played for him in Bloomington…in his office, shades down, completely dark but for a small desk lamp, and that ever-present cigarette glowing in the blackness as I made my way through Popper and Bach.

    Several years later I studied in Bloomington (on the 5-year plan) – with Gary Hoffman and Fritz Magg. Failing to “make the cut” into his studio, Mr. Starker nevertheless welcomed me into his Saturday classes and generously gave me 5 or 6 private lessons each year. Back then I was ill-prepared for study with such a master, but what I learned from those lessons and classes…from watching him play close up for five years…changed my life, and made it possible for me to study later with Aldo Parisot at Yale.

    I will never forget the incredible fortune I had to watch this force of nature play on Saturdays…just 10 or 15 feet away from me…Kodaly, Bach, Locatelli, Dvorak, Schumann, Bartok, Prokofiev, Boccherini, Dohnanyi, Valentini, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Chopin, Cassado, Piatti, Popper, Martinu…one day, in preparation for an upcoming engagement with the Chicago Symphony, a complete start-to-finish performance for his students of the Rococo Variations on that wonderful Goffriller of his…breathtaking, there are no words.

    He could be very funny, as we joked around during intermission at the Waterloo Festival in 1985 after another electrifying performance of the Schumann concerto…where I sat on the first stand and so was just a few feet away from him. That’s where I first heard the St. Peter joke…and he delighted at the thought of having put so many through so much. Bernard Holland of the New York Times wrote of that Schumann: “Mr. Starker’s performance of the Schumann A minor Concerto offered calm rebuttal to more grand and extravagant cello styles. This was playing that said much with small, contained gestures. There were no outbursts, no explosions, no dramatic sighs, but Mr. Starker’s utter clarity of rhythm and pointed intonation exposed Schumann’s music and let us think about it for ourselves.” That’s what Mr. Starker was great at…allowing the music to speak for itself…using a technique so perfect that it became transparent.

    Now, many years later, I continue to learn from the Starker editions and from his recordings…I still hear his voice…remember his advice (only practice what you cannot play, what you can doesn’t need more practice)…recall technical discussions (the ins and outs of pronation and supination, anticipated and delayed shifts, how to practice shifting – position to position, not just note to note). What I learned from Janos Starker continues to teach me.

    Thank you, Mr. Starker, for your singularly outstanding playing…for your phenomenal recordings…for your unique ability to actually teach what you yourself could do so well…and for your personal warmth and generous spirit.

    Thank you, Mr. Starker…I will miss you.

  52. Alex Friedhoff says:

    Mr. Starker has been absolutely crucial in my development as a musician and cellist. I remember him telling me “I’m interested in long-term teaching, in what you will be doing in 10, 15, 20 years from now”. The truth is that his art is ingrained in my mind and heart, through countless images, words, and sounds that continue to motivate me daily. Mr. Starker taught me above all to trust and firmly believe in the power of good pedagogy, regardless of the amount of talent. His wisdom, sharp mind, energy, sense of style and beauty, will forever inspire me to move on as a professional.

    I remember how at times, practicing alone at MA 155, I stopped to look around in silence, and felt the magic of Mr. Starker’s art floating in the air. That feeling was simply electrifying. It will last forever.

  53. Alec Hirschauer says:

    When I was in the seventh grade, Janos Starker gave a master class in my hometown of Spokane, WA. As a developing cellist, this was my first opportunity to witness true greatness, and was hugely inspirational to my continuing love and dedication toward the instrument that has become such an integral part of my being. Thank you, sir!

  54. William G. "Bill" Hartwell III, MM 1964 says:

    I shall never forget arriving on the Bloomington campus in Sept of 1961 to study under the great pedagogue and performer, D. Ralph Appelman. After performing an audition for the voice faculty, I took a tour of the “Round House” as we called it in those days. To my amazement, upon one of the studio doors was the name of the eminent cellist, Janos Starker! He had performed just the year before with the Walla Walla Symphony while I was attending Whitman College.
    I took a chance and knocked upon his studio door…’twas he himself who opened the door, smiled graciously and asked, “May I be of help?” I told him I had just driven 2400 miles from the State of Washington to attend IU and wished to thank him for his wonderful performance with the WW Symphony.
    “Oh, my goodness,” he offered. “Do come in and tell me about yourself.
    The professor has a pot of hot water brewing and, of all things, he offered me a cup of tea. I can safely say that the occasion of 15 or so minutes he spent with me made me feel so welcome and blessed to be a student who would have the chance to study and to learn about professionalism at the School of Music. I am forever indebted to Professor Starker for those kind moments he spent with me!

  55. Bennett Lowenthal says:

    His recordings, his 1971 edition of the Bach suites with its preface, his autobiography, a couple of his master classes I was fortunate to attend … these left their mark on me. Janos Starker had more to say to the humble, mediocre but devoted amateur cellist (…I am one…) than anybody ever. He gave to me, and to others like me, the wisdom to see the implications of technical limitation along with the encouragement to become our own teacher through investigative practice, and thereby to strive. For my own music-making, not to mention his, I will be forever grateful to him.

  56. carlos zavala says:

    I will forever be grateful to Mr. Starker for his insight into the technical and personal problems I struggled with in 1967, as I was ill prepared to work with him. Every day, I recall his patient advice and am always aware of his musical presence. The purity of his sound and the intelligence of his playing will forever be with us.

  57. Peter Morrison says:

    It is a very sad day to hear of the passing of Janos Starker. A cellist with an instantly recognizable sound, whose mentoring and guidance, grand-scale and yet highly refined musicality, together with his clear technical authority, directly influenced what must be thousands of cellists worldwide. For those lucky enough to have witnessed his masterclasses or studied with him, his softly spoken, side-of-mouth pearls of wisdom remain in the memories, blood and cellist bones of each person.

    I remember my first meeting with him for his straight-up, no-nonsense teaching style: ”I want you to come on Wednesday afternoon at 2pm. Next!” And indeed it was like that for much of the first half year. Lessons in the old school method: I was there to work and to learn, rather then friendly chit-chat, and it took all of those six months to finally get a smile from him. It was a relief when it came, but it was worth the wait, for it showed me his serious intentions as a cello teacher and layed down the rules for my responsibilities as a student.

    Studying under Janos Starker was for me akin to entering a new galaxy, a new world. His observations had weighted importance, in part because he spoke so softly. It was his wonderful wry humour mixed with focused, disciplined teaching that made many other things in life seem irrelevant. Once, in my second year and when things weren’t quite travelling so smoothly over a period of months, he stopped me mid-lesson and enquired: ‘What’s the matter?” I proceeded to engage in a 10-minute monologue of everything that wasn’t clicking for me; too much academic work, girlfriend issues and a barrage of other things. At the end, he looked at me and said only three words, which stick with me to this day: ”Cope with it.”

    And indeed, that was one of Janos’ great lessons to me and most probably to the vast majority of his students, to learn to look after oneself and focus on what needs to be looked after. His interest lay in developing his students so that they could cope with problems that came along long after one had finished studying with him, primarily on the cello, but also on a larger ‘life’ perspective. He was strict, and no doubt a few cellists and accompanists felt more than the usual sweat before and after some lessons, but he cared with sincerity for his students, for the talent they possessed and for them as people. This was made clear to me through an exchange I had with him in his studio in the Music School in Indiana towards the end of my studies, in the Spring of 1990, where a mother of a fellow student was listening to my lesson with polite and respected attention. At some point half way through, after I had finished a particular passage, he made a comment, to which I replied back. He made another comment, and I again replied. This happened a third time, upon which Janos turned to the somewhat bemused and alarmed mother and said: ”You know, it is not just that he is Australian, he is also with Hungarian background, and he feels the need to respond.” To which I replied: ”I’m just checking to see if you still love me!” After a very brief pause, he added, ”Love is a bit strong. But I do like you!”

    Janos will always be remembered for the great, masterful cellist and musician he was. There is no doubt that he sits up there with the truly great cellists and artists, representing a style that sits firmly in the golden days of tradition. But he was also a very caring man, who was very happy to embrace his ‘retired’ students – those who had finished their studies with him – when bumping into them on his many touring journeys, as happened to me when I came across him in Washington DC in 1996. I am indebted to him as a cellist, for the way he taught me how to solve almost any technical problem on the instrument. But I, and many others, will undoudtedly remember him also as a truly genuine and caring human being. As all his students will relate to, and on a twist of his own joke he fondly liked to tell, I am sure Saint Peter will have let him through the gates of Heaven, for he not only studied from himself – and thus went through Hell already! – but was indeed true to himself as a person.

    Already sorely missed and forever remembered, may you truly rest in peace, Janos Starker.

    • Marie-Claude (Joachim) Simard says:

      We were in M. Starker’s class at the same time Peter! Remember the cello parties at M. Starker’s house? He made us feel like we were part of his family. He indeed created an extended family of cellists, encouraging us to always share, and help each other. He was a great inspiration, a generous and kind man. What a chance we had to cross paths with such an extraordinary musician. Thank you for your precious teachings M.Starker, you will always remain dear to my heart.

  58. Andra Lunde Padrichelli says:

    That you simply believed in me, so may I have the strength to pass along to others all that you gave to me. Thank you, Mr. Starker.

  59. Edward Rath says:

    The death of Janos Starker is the end of a major musical journey I have been privileged to travel for more than 50 years. I first heard Janos play in public with his duo partner of more than half a century, Gyorgy Sebok, while I was a freshman at Lawrence University. When I later became a student of Sebok at Indiana, I had the opportunity to hear them both many times in concerts (often along with Josef Gingold), but I also heard conversations between them in Hungarian, not understanding a word they were saying except for a few English loan words like “computer” and “parking lot.”

    I had the privilege of playing for some of his finest students in their lessons, and he graciously coached me in the Debussy Sonate, giving me a profound lesson on the concept of “missing” beats. I also remember his saying, “Ed, let’s play this [the Strauss Sonata]” to demonstrate his musical ideas to a student. At the end of the work, I had sweated so much that my sport coat was wet under the arms, but he looked over at me and chuckled as he said, “I don’t feel sorry for you!”, with that amazing twinkle in his eyes. We laughed about this a few years ago.

    About ten years ago, I wrote him and said, “If Gyorgy Sebok was my musical father, then certainly you have been my musical uncle.” His playing, teaching, and friendship have been an influence on so much of my musical life. I also expressed to him my wish that, could I return to Bloomington as a student, I would sit outside his studio waiting to play for any and all his students, knowing that every minute with him was a priceless learning experience.

    His intellect, wisdom, kindness, and genius combined to make him someone very special. While he may no longer walk and perform among us in person, his spirit will live on through the lives of his thousands of students and devotees, and his many marvelous recordings. We have lost a friend for all times.

    Sincere condolences to his wife, Rae, and his daughters and grandchildren.

  60. Paul Friedhoff says:

    Janos Starker was the one person who made the biggest impact on my musical life. I think the same thing can be said in the name of my brother, Mark, and my son, Alexander who also passed through his hands. I feel deeply honored that Professor Starker played such an important role in the lives of this family and we will all remember him with respect, love and gratitude. Our condolences to Rae and the rest of the family.

  61. I joined Starkers class in Bloomington in 1985/86. But it is really since I teach myself that I realize how much I ow to this great master! There is not a single day that I do not think about his words to me, his analysis and his suggestions.
    At this moment I feel very touched and sad, and I want to express once again how thankful I am for everything that I was allowed to learn from him.
    It was only one single time – after a student concert I played – that he hugged me very warmly. This feeling I will always carry in my heart! My feelings are with his family!

    • Marie-Claude (Joachim) Simard says:

      We were in M. Starker’s class at the same time Peter! Remember the cello parties at M. Starker’s house? He made us feel like we were part of his family. He indeed created an extended family of cellists, encouraging us to always share, and help each other. He was a great inspiration, a generous and kind man. What a chance we had to cross paths with such an extraordinary musician. Thank you for your precious teachings M.Starker, you will always remain dear to my heart.

  62. Mª Nieves Collado Soriano says:

    Nos ha dejado el gran maestro capaz de formar a generaciones de violoncellista de todo el mundo.
    Gracias a una vida de dedicación a la enseñanza, su legado se ha transmitido a muchos otros…..y, aunque no fué mi profesor de violoncello, le admiro enormemente por lo que he aprendido de otros que sí lo fueron.
    Desde España mis condolencias, descanse en paz.

  63. Maro Geiss says:

    In den späten 80er Jahren hatte ich das große Privileg, als Freundin der Tochter Gwen, einige Tage bei Fam. Starker zu wohnen! Ich lernte Janos Starker als aussergewöhnlich humor- und liebevollen Menschen kennen, der aus einem unendlichen Reservoir an Lebenserfahrung schöpfen und erzählen konnte!
    Meine Gedanken sind bei seiner Familie!

  64. Mathias Donderer says:

    Yesterday was my first day of teaching the cello kids of the MIAGI cello kids, using so many things i learned from JS including hiy famous “song of the maid” control exercise, lots of talking about bloomington at night with the other instructors and for some reason i decided to wear a 24 year old t shirt from IU before knowing…R.I.P.

  65. Not only was Janos Starker a master teacher but a great analyst and thinker. I remember complaining once in a lesson that “No matter how hard I practice and do everything you tell me to do, you still sound better.” He merely smiled and gently summed up the essence of what it means to be a professional. “Don, you are shooting at a moving target.” It was his way of telling me that he was becoming a better cellist too. And now, having retired after playing 39 years with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I understand his summation more than ever. Here’s to you, Starker, the ultimate professional.

  66. Mark Sheridan says:

    Charismatic yet practical, analytical yet inspired, both an artist and a scientist, Starker’s identity was immediately recognisable in anything everything he played. His unique art lives on through his many recordings, and his technical innovations in the hands of so many students who were fortunate enough to have encountered him. Thank you Mr. Starker!

  67. Stefanie Jacob says:

    I spent 3 1/2 years accompanying many lessons in Mr. Starker’s studio, and always went to the Saturday classes, even if I wasn’t playing with someone. But I will never forget the very first lesson I played, in early September of 1981. It was still very hot in Bloomington, and I was wearing Dr. Scholl’s sandals, in which I could not pedal. Thinking nothing of doing so, I slipped out of the right one before we began playing (the first movement of Haydn D). I felt Mr. Starker’s eyes on my naked foot, but he didn’t say anything. After we finished, he began…”Miss Jacob. You seem like quite a good pianist, but I have 3 rules in my studio.” I gulped and nodded.”Don’t chew gum!!!” “…I wasn’t chewing gum!!” “I know, I’m just telling you all the rules. Don’t say oops! [I hadn’t done that, either] …and wear something on your feet!!” I explained that I had needed to remove the sandal in order to pedal, and HE explained that he realized this, and that was why he hadn’t already kicked me out of the studio. Then he looked at me and asked “Do you have any idea WHY I have this rule?” I thought and I thought, and finally asked, hesitatingly “for sanitary reasons?” He shouted with laughter, but then said “out of respect for the music, see you next week, thank you.”

    Mr. Starker was one of the giants I was lucky enough to learn from during my years in Bloomington. I will miss knowing he is there.

  68. Ingrid Fischer Bellman says:

    I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to study with Janos Starker. His generosity and kindness extended beyond the sharing of his vast musical and instrumental knowledge and helped us grow and thrive . His gift to us is a gift that keeps growing. In addition to the marvelous recordings and memories of performances in class or concert halls, I remember his comments from my own lessons and master classes and those observations have always guided me and with the years even gained in value as my own experiences accumulated. I understand them more deeply and continue to share with colleagues and students. In particular I remember asking him to explain the reason for the subito p after the crescendi in the Adagio of the A major Beethoven Cello Sonata ” Have you ever laughed and cried at the same time? ”
    He asked me. I Extend my deepest sympathies to Mrs Starker and the family.
    Dear Mr Starker
    May your memory be a blessing as we say in Hebrew Zichrono Livracha.

  69. Sister Jane Conway says:

    I played for some of Mr. Starker’s students a long time ago now!
    I feel very fortunate to have experienced his musicianship, and to have known such a great human being. My profound thanks to all of you at the School of Music.

  70. Paul Lawrence Finkelstein says:

    Although I was a student of Fritz Magg for my Undergraduate and Graduate degrees, Professor Starker always made me feel welcome in his studio, offering me valuable performing advise and even some coaching prior to my N.Y. Debut. I will always remember him for the masterful Cellist and teacher he was (even though there were many times I was extremely intimidated by his strong stature and piercing stare). I’m so grateful that he gave us so many incredible performances. I’ll never forget his peformance of the Dvorak Cello Concerto. I was so inspired.

  71. I was only 19 years old, when I was plucked from the student body at IU School of Music to tour and record with Mr. Starker. I can trace virtually everything that has happened to me since in my career to Mr. Starker. To say I have loved him is a gross understatement. I am crushed that Mr. Starker has passed on, but, as he has for many years now, he will remain in my heart as I continue to perform and teach. Thank you, Mr. Starker, for everything you have given me…most of all trusting that I had the “stuff” to be your recital partner for the years that I was. Rest in Peace knowing that you have left a legacy that will live on forever!!!!

  72. William Burnham says:

    I remember Janos Starker as providing me with the greatest music experience I think I have ever had. While a clarinet student at the music school in 1968, I was supposed to play the Brahms Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano (op. 114) on my senior recital. My cellist was in Starker’s Chamber Lit class and she asked if I minded if we play the Brahms for his class. We nervously played through the first movement and waited for his reaction. He said something to the effect “Well, you play the notes . . . ” and picked up my cellist’s instrument and said “From the top . .. ” I can barely remember what happened from that point on it was so long ago, but that probably doesn’t matter since the experience was, in any event, indescribable. His comments and his playing completely changed our conception of the piece. And I went around with my head in the clouds for some time afterward, thinking “I can’t believe I just played the 1st mvt of the Brahms with Janos Starker!” What a player, what a presence, what a loss now that he is gone. I have since gone on to much more mundane things — I have been a law professor for 30 years and play for fun in community orchestras and chamber groups now — but that “shining musical moment” will live on in my consciousness as long as I am alive.

  73. I first experienced Janos Starker in 1972 as a child – his teaching room was next to that of my father, bassoonist William Waterhouse, who taught for one year at Bloomington. I fairly often watched J.S.’s classes, amazed by his wizard-like playing and the electrifying effect it had on his pupils.
    Some years later I had some lessons from him when he visited the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. Before I played a note the first thing he said was “Ze Eengleesh School of Cello Playing is ze worst in ze world”. I did not manage to dispel that myth right away, but managed to get slightly even by announcing at the next lesson I’d play the Gigue from “Bach’s 7th Suite”. This was a slightly Pulcinella-type piece I wrote for the occasion (and still have). He was flummoxed, couldn’t place it and was genuinely curious to learn what it was. Thereafter the ice was, if not quite broken, at least cracked.
    I particularly remember his his luminous playing of the Dvorak Concerto at Masterclasses in Vienna and always treasured my signed copy of his “Organized Method”.
    A figure that the musical world will surely esteem over the generations…

  74. Myles Jordan says:

    When Janos Starker began teaching in the U. S. in 1958 the landscape for cello students was a bleak one. Where were the teachers able to bring to bear a solid understanding of exactly what was possible at the instrument, combined with knacks for analysis, verbalization, demonstration and a rigorously methodical approach that together amounted to a sort of pedagogical critical mass? Starker, seemingly single-handedly, changed that landscape over the past half-century into a verdant one. He was supreme, both as a teacher and a performing artist, formulating the concepts – even the fundamental vocabulary – that are now commonplaces amongst the world’s most accomplished practitioners. He was in a class by himself, and is an almost unimaginable loss to cello playing.
    It devolves upon us, his students, to keep his legacy alive, without creating a new orthodoxy, but by preserving a creative, unflagging commitment to excellence. What he looked for in his pupils were motivation and dedication, not immediate accomplishment, and he believed that, through the process of guided growth he provided for generations of students, real accomplishment would follow naturally. He was willing to put in the leg work. He will be sadly missed.

  75. Paul Crosmer says:

    He was certainly one of the worlds greatest performers, but his way of relating to students was the thing I found so amazing. He would talk with 9-year-olds with the same frankness and sincerity as with much more experienced older students–it was easy to overlook how famous he was, as he never put on airs. Once a duty driver for three students from Arkansas attending one of his summer master classes, I found myself sitting through three solid days of his teaching. Never once was it boring, and always I saw his students totally absorbed in what he was passing on to them. The world was truly blessed to have him for so long, but it would never have been long enough.

  76. Walter Preucil says:

    I will always be profoundly grateful for the time I had to know and have as a teacher Mr. Starker. The sense of loss is great, but I will continue to learn as I recall the wonderful wisdom he imparted to me.

  77. Johann Sebastian Paetsch says:

    The first time I met Janos Starker was when he played a recital in Colorado Springs (I believe I was 13 or so). To this day I can still remember the Brahms E minor Sonata and how his right arm moved crossing the strings. He and his wife came up to our house the following afternoon and although my mother was against smoking he was allowed to smoke. He played two notes on my cello and they which were slightly out of tune then he noticed that it was a smaller cello (7/8th) and proceeded in a private concert that was amazing, all over the cello with double stops, fancy bowings… just incredible. I later studied for 3 summers with him in Banff, Canada where he went through the most incredible cello schooling. Each day was on a different topic. One day it was vibrato, then the division of bow, then shifting, then… I still have the note books full of notes from each days incredible lessons. What an incredible man devoted to teaching and playing. Years later I met him again when he played the Bartok Viola Concerto (yes, on the Cello) in Fort Wayne, Indiana I went back stage to talk with him and he (and his wife) still remembered that visit to our house those many years ago. We shall miss you and the wisdom you passed on to all of us. RIP

  78. Wolfram Geiss says:

    In my first saturdaymorning celloclass ( August 1976) , playing the Haydn-D, first movement, I stopped with shaky hands, red cheecks and sweating right at the cadenza.
    Starkers comment : …….Go home , take a shower, whistle the rest of the piece, make a date with one of these nice and beautiful students of the IU musicschool – in one word: enjoy your life, relax and then come back…..
    This was the beginning of two deeply impressiv years in Bloomington, certainly the most important ones for my musical life.
    I owe it to Janos Starker, the wunderful man, cellist and teacher.
    He will allways have a place in my heart.

  79. Odile GABRIELLI (France) says:

    Mes premières pensées vont vers la famille de Janos Starker, son épouse, ses enfants et petits enfants.
    Je suis profondément attristée par sa disparition, j’ai eu l’immense privilège d’être l’élève de Janos Starker entre 1990 et 1992 à Indiana University.
    Sa rencontre en 1989 à Prades en France fut pour moi un tournant capital dans ma vie de musicienne, au delà de ses dons de pédagogue et de brillant musicien, je n’oublierai jamais son humanité et sa gentillesse envers sa famille du violoncelle.
    Il nous a fait partager cet amour de la transmission, cette quête de la perfection d’une manière universelle.
    Son sens de l’humour sera également gravé dans ma mémoire.
    Il restera pour moi un père spirituel et un guide à tout jamais.

  80. As a trumpet performance major at IU, I had a rare opportunity to play for Mr. Starker directly… I had been nominated for a Performer’s Certificate based on my recital, playing a duo for trumpet and cello by Yves Chardon. Once my cello partner heard that Mr. Starker would be on the faculty panel, he immediately became incredibly nervous, since he had never run the piece by him during any of his lessons. Knowing his reputation as a beloved–but demanding–teacher, I hardly needed anything to further fuel my nerves! As it turned out, we both played well; afterwards, Mr. Starker approached me and he enjoyed the piece and thought I played excellently. I think that meant more to me than almost any praise I received in all my years of study. Rest well sir… The world is a richer place for all that you’ve done.

  81. Andrew Somogyi says:

    I have deep and fond memories of personally meeting and hearing Starker play in London, New York, Rochester NY, Geneva Switz. and in Budapest. He and my father, conductor Laszlo Somogyi along with Gyorgy Sebok the late and renowned pianist were close friends going back to the pre-WWII years.

    Starker’s unique expression and sonority will forever be etched in my memory. R.I.P., János.

  82. Rena Sharon says:

    Professor Starker’s teaching and performance artistry, which I had the great privilege to receive as a student at Indiana so long ago, has remained a cherished touchstone for all the years since – one shared with thousands of others across our planet. His immense artistic integrity set a model for young musicians that has informed the aspiration of generations of the world’s performing artists and pedagogues. Rigour, discipline, pursuit of excellence, and an unswerving commitment to search for the deepest musical truths one could summon – foundational pillars of the artist’s path that we learned through our interactions with our revered Professor’s realm of thought and action.
    Despite his understated style, he was a huge personality to his students. We were in awe – but starstruck as we were by his intensity and celebrity, the deep core of artistic humility that made his work so profound and his example so inspirational was foremost in every glorious phrase and insight. How often I have recalled moments when he would pick up his cello during a lesson to demonstrate a passage that a student was struggling to accomplish. Without warming up, having perhaps not played the specific work for months or years, he would play with stunningly flawless technique and heart-stopping expressivity – sounds that will resonate in our memories forever. And then he’d put down the cello with his trademark self-dismissive facial gesture and carry on as though nothing special had just happened, while we tried re-start our breath and imagine how we would now dare try to emulate what we had just heard. Blessed hours of life-changing knowledge acquisition, never forgotten.

    The hard circumstances of his early life detailed in his obituary are unfathomable to those who did not share those times. The courage and fortitude he modelled in building his vibrant domain at Indiana University and as an international concert artist were part of the deep learning for those under his tutelage. He never spoke of his past to most of us, but we sensed the stoicism with which it was borne, and the elements of character that had been forged through his experiences. These too were part of our learning in his studio.

    He challenged students to confront their existing limitations with honesty and then to reach far beyond our known boundaries as artists and as human beings. Whatever life-path ensues, this is perhaps the most important teaching one can receive.

    An iconic figure in the cello world, the countless pianists and other chamber musicians who benefited from our time in his realm are equally affected by his immense contributions and the loss of his presence in the world. His spirit will continue forward in the global legacy he has generated.

    He lived with an exceptional blend of passion and dignity. The anecdote shared by Clovis Lark on this page about satisfaction and pride sums it all up. For so many gifts of mind, heart, and spirit – thank you, Professor Starker.

    Deepest condolences to the family on their loss.

  83. Chris Rund says:

    I was on a middle school field trip when I first saw Prof. Starker, performing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with the Indianapolis Symphony at Clowes Hall. Six years later, in the spring of 1984, I was auditioning for undergraduate admission to the JSoM as a double bass major. When I entered the studio, my eyes immediately fell upon that same, unmistakeable, statuesque countenance I had seen onstage years before. My heart nearly stopped, and suddenly, my audition took on a whole new significance.

    During my studies, I came to understand how universally respected his teaching was, when I’d overhear pianists and other instrumentalists repeating his instruction from master classes— “You must pre-PARE the shift!”

    I feel very fortunate to have studied in the rarefied atmosphere created by Prof. Starker and other great musicians of his era who elevated the JSoM to a world-class institution.

  84. Pam Duncan says:

    It was my pleasure to call Janos Starker a friend. I did not know him as a student but through my association with the School of Music for over 27 years. He was always kind and generous and very dedicated to his profession. The world of music has lost a great man but I feel very privileged to have called him a friend. My heart goes out to his family whom he was very proud of and to his musical friends. We shall miss a great talent. Pam

  85. Catherine Bahn says:

    Gone from this world a rare inspiration to humanity, how fortunate to have been in your care, how you go on to stay beside me in the practice room, forever indebted…that you understood.

  86. Ken Gros Louis says:

    I, like others, marvel at his genius. But I recall so much else–the warmth and humor with which he entertained at his home; at Bob Knight’s request, playing for the team and talking about what it takes to achieve perfection; his visits to my home to discuss, wisely and thoughtfully, the status of the Jacobs School. His humanity will always stay with me. I will miss him.

  87. Stephen Wyrczynski says:

    The Jacobs School and the entire musical world mourn the passing of Maestro Starker. He was a musical father to many and continues to inspire and influence us.

  88. From Menahem Pressler: The world of music lost one of the greatest cellist at the same time one of his greatest teachers. For me, his being all that, I lost one of my best and oldest friends. We met in Dallas, he just arrived from Europe to be first cellist for Dorati and I came to play with the orchestra. The year 1948. My world is poorer without him in every respect. My love for him will continue to live with me.

  89. Cora Kuyvenhoven says:

    I loved the quirky twist to his smile when I had the privilege of studying with him during the summer cello masterclasses at Banff and the chamber music festival in Ontario. When I would get nervous he reminded me that “these (the cellists in the room) were my friendlies enemies.” and insisted I play the whole Piatti Caprice #7 again.

  90. John Winninger says:

    I got to know Professor Starker better during the mid 1980’s Cello Congress that was held at IU. As a cellist and then television producer – director for WTIU we video taped most of the completions and several of the panels at the Musical Arts Center. Janos wanted to view the videotapes and requested for me to personally deliver them to his home. We many times sat (with a beverage) to view the VHS daily footage from the Congress. Several years later I was involved with several notable TV productions such as master classes, studio performances, his 75th televised celebration, and recently an interview at his home.
    Although I studied with Fritz Magg while at IU, I remember attending many of his cello master classes. His insight to music making, his deep understanding of the cello literature, his love of teaching will long be remembered by all of his followers. All those that knew Professor Starker value his friendship. He will be missed.

  91. Angela Sokol Russell says:

    It was a privilege to be Mr. Starker’s student and valued as a friend in later years.There isn’t a day I don’t look at his picture as I teach,realizing how great and important a contribution he made to all of us. His influence will forever be worldwide and inspiring,his friendship cherished.Rest in peace, Mr. Starker. Blessings to your family.

  92. Patricia Wise says:

    Janos Starker has left an indelible mark during his performing and teaching life.
    His unique presence when he walked from the elevator in the “round building” past my studio to his will remain etched in my memory. Janos retained an air of old-world reserve yet always had a kind smile for students and colleagues. His passing will be mourned in the world of music and he will be much missed in the halls of the Jacobs School of Music.

  93. Lawrence Hurst says:

    The first time I ever heard Janos play live was in 1962 in Dallas while I was principal bass in the orchestra there. I was awestruck; I didn’t think it was possible to play any string instrument that in tune and that beautifully. The next time I saw Janos was in 1986 when I was hired to be on the JSoM faculty. Janos was so gracious and welcoming to me, and I will never forget his collegiality during my tenure at the JSoM. He will be greatly missed by everyone, but I’m sure especially by the world-wide string community. He raised the bar very high indeed.

  94. It is a huge lost for the cellist community. But his contribution will stay for all the world. His music helped me develop and passionately love the cello. His recordings and legacy left, is a contribution to humanity. We will remember you always.

  95. Benjamin Karp says:

    Dear Mr. Starker,
    You will be sorely missed, but you will also be remembered each and every day by all your students. Thank you so much.

  96. Agnes Grossmann and Raffi Armenian says:

    It is with profound sadness that we heard of Janos Starker’s passing. He is, was, and always will be, a unique artist among the world’s cellists.

    All those, like us, who had the privilege of knowing him, hearing him in concert or master class and performing with him, will cherish those memorable moments of their lives. Janos Starker, with his incomparable mastery, brought the essence of music to a shining experience.

    With his presence, Janos Starker helped us build important Canadian Institutions like the Orford Arts Centre and Toronto Summer Music to organizations of international stature.

    Janos Starker’s friendship has an important place in our hearts and our sincerest condolences go to his beloved Rae and all his wonderful family.

  97. Patty Zurlo says:

    Such sad news! I have wonderful memories of the Saturday morning master classes led by Mr. Starker. I learned so much. He made special exceptions and allowed the bassoon students of Mr. Sharrow to attend. My best wishes to Gwen and Bill and the entire family as well.

  98. Dana Oliver Sebek says:

    In l982, Mr. Starker came to Northwestern for a Master class. I was one of the lucky ones to perform the Elgar concerto for him. I’ll never forget this experience and his mastery, but his ability to easily help the students to understand technique. I had always been a huge fan, but after this moment, I never ever stopped focusing on my technique. Thank you for all you gave to us Janos, and thank you for sharing him with his, dear family.

  99. Julieta Alvarado says:

    I had the privilege and great fortune to be one of the last to interview Professor Starker at his home, on October 24, 2011, for my recently completed Ph.D. dissertation “Dean of Deans: Wilfred Bain and the Rise of the Indiana University School of Music”. Thank you, Mr. Starker, for your story and your legacy to the Jacobs School of Music. Without your heartfelt words and personal testimony my work could have never been completed.

  100. Alvin Wong says:

    Dear Mr. Starker,

    I wouldn’t have become a cellist without your encouragement. Thank you for the giving me privilege to study with you for three fruitful years at IU. Proud to carry the “155” label. Rest In Peace.

  101. Janos visited Florida State when I was an undergraduate. I have strong memories of him on stage. He sat on a beautiful leather chair, and had another for his cello. He also had a table with an ashtray, and despite the ban a beautiful trail of smoke flowed upwards throughout the proceedings whenever he didn’t have a cigarette in his hand. But all of these memorable aspects paled in comparison to his playing. Several times during the masterclass he picked up his cello to play something when he wanted to make a point clear, and each time the room fell silent, enraptured by his artistry. It was nearly 20 years ago, and the memory of his work is still with me, still fresh. Rest in peace, Janos.

  102. Alice Manning LaSota says:

    What a privilege to have studied with Janos Starker for three years at IU in the late 1960’s. The greatest highlight was working on the Bach 5th Suite with him, the greatest Bach cellist ever! Starker’s approach to playing the cello made the most natural use of the entire body and he understood what he was doing and could teach it. Starker students can be spotted from afar because they know how to use their right arms and hands. Thank you, Mr. Starker.

  103. Eric Anderson, Jr says:

    In my undergraduate days, I covered the Music School for the Indiana Daily Student, and the opportunity arose to interview Prof Starker — it was 80th birthday, and WFIU was honoring him as their featured Artist of the Month. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and bound into his studio brimming with nervous energy. The first thing I remember noticing was his specialty ash-tray, which, with a turn of a dial, emptied the ash into a canister below, then closed back tight, theoretically blocking the tobacco odor (it wasn’t terribly effective, as anyone in a five-studio radius could attest).

    I was especially interested in speaking with Mr Starker, as he had collaborated many years before with my then-mentor and friend, the late Thomas Dunn. When the believed-to-be-lost Haydn Concerto in C surfaced in Prague in the 1960s, it was Tom’s New York Festival Orchestra that gave the American Premiere, with Starker as the featured soloist. I remember looking at the framed NYTimes concert announcement on Toms’ wall and thinking how fascinating that decades later these men would end up colleagues at the Jacobs School. It’s a very small world.

    Incidentally, my last personal encounter with Prof Starker also involved Tom. We were at the reception following Prof Baldner’s retirement performance. I was navigating Tom in his wheelchair, and when we happened upon Starker, the stern cellist looked down at Tom, smiled warmly (for him), and said simply, “Long time no see.”

    It’s easy to forget, after more years, and more laps around the Music Annex, than I care to count, that I have had the enormous, and completely undeserved privilege, to walk among giants. Starker towered higher than most, and while his presence will be greatly missed, his contributions to the school, and to the world of music at large, will never be forgotten.

  104. Erika Pierson says:

    Thank you, Janos Starker, for everything you gave to your students and the world. Your influence was farther reaching than you could ever know. You will be greatly missed.
    Erika Pierson

  105. Jan Vogler says:

    I grew up in East Germany with some of Mr. Starkers most incredible recordings. As a 6 year old I know about him as one of the great cellists of our time. Until today I admire the beautiful and stylish way of playing the cello that made him a legend during his lifetime. His influence and inspiration will live on.

  106. clovis lark says:

    Janos Starker will always be remembered as one of the titans of cello. He was also a renaissance man whose interests included philosophy, invention, drawing, writing and a regret not to have learned more of mathematics, something he expressed to me after reading “A Beautiful Mind”. His understanding of tonality, especially as presented in Bach’s Suites, was unique. Truly great artists are driven by intellectual curiosity and self-inflicted ruthless dedication. Starker had both of these and a great personal integrity that could appear in the most unlikely of gestures.

    A number of years ago, when the trustees of the University of California decided to rename Schoenberg Music Building for a new donor, I called Starker to ask that he join the Schoenberg family and others in blocking this move. Without hesitation, he asked me what his first step should be and joined the successful effort to retain the original name. I am sure he did this on principle, but in doing so, he linked himself with another of music’s great pedagogues and creators. Like Schoenberg, Janos Starker dedicated himself to teaching, producing many great cellists, the best of whom all had their own approach to the instrument, and in their playing expanded artistic expression far beyond the great parameters associated with their teacher.

    This dedication to future generations has its best exemplar in an event that happened the morning after he received the Grammy for his final recording of the Bach Suites. A student had decorated his studio door to celebrate the award. He admonished her for the public display. “But you must be so proud!” she said. His response, “Satisfied, yes. What makes me proud is when you play well.”

  107. I worked with Janos Starker for two years, traveling to Indiana from Ann Arbor in 2008/9. He was caring, incredibly helpful, and a powerful example of how to approach the art of cello playing and life. I am deeply honored and grateful to have spent the very short time with him I did. My sympathies go to his family as well as wishes for their healing. May his knowledge, love, and memory live on.
    Suzanne Smith

  108. Ernesto Bitetti says:

    My first acknowledgement of Indiana University School of Music came in 1979 through Maestro Janos Starker at Bogota International airport.
    8 hours delay in a flight to Buenos Aires gave time for Janos to spoke so proudly of ‘his” School.
    Since then we kept periodical awareness until 1989 when I accepted to open the Guitar Department Program.
    All this years Maestro Starker has been my role model as an artist and pedagogue (his unforgettable Saturday Master Classes.)
    When Janos was mentioned in any article or reviews always his name was associated to I.U.S.O.M.
    Dear Janos, always you will be in my thoughts and gratitude.

  109. Laura Beyer says:

    Dear Mr. Starker,
    Thank you for the beautiful little bouquet of violets you picked for me from the Goedde’s lawn. Thank you for everything.

    Laura Beyer

  110. Karen Buranskas says:

    It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to study with Mr. Starker as an undergraduate cello major at Indiana University. As one of the greatest cellists and pedagogues of the 20th century he has made an indelible impact in the cello world that will live on through his students. How fortunate for us that his playing will always be with us through his recordings.

    Karen Buranskas

  111. Dr. Michael Gordon says:

    I knew Janos as a distinguished colleague, but also as a friend. He also served me as a cheerleader during my ten years as Vice Chancellor/Dean of Students at Indiana University especially when I had to champion unpopular decisions regarding student life.

    Janos Starker, though long an internationally recognized cellist took the time and interest to encourage me as a fairly new Professor if Music Education when I took on a dual role in 1976 to appear in the leading role of “Porgy” in the Indiana University Opera Theatre production of Gershwin’s, “Porgy and Bess”. I had the joy of singing David Baker’s Song Cycle for Baritone and Cello on a number of other events as well as David Baker’s Symphonic work for orchestra and baritone, “Alabama Landscape”. Janos Starker’s personal interest and coaching was of invaluable to me as a singer, educator and as a person.

    I have been in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Starker for their well-known musicales.

    My heart goes out to that gracious lady, Mrs Starker, and their whole family whose hearts must be broken. My heart is broken too that not only have we lost a world famous man, but such a caring friend.

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