Janos Starker Remembrance Week

János Starker Remembrance Week: The Test

After a long journey a young man arrived deep in a forest where the teacher of his choice was living in a small house he had built himself. When the student arrived, the teacher was sweeping up autumn’s falling leaves. Greeting his new master, the young man received no greeting in return. And to all his questions, there were no replies. Realizing there was nothing he could do to get the teacher’s attention, the student went to another part of the same forest and built himself a house. Years later, when he was sweeping up autumn’s fallen leaves, he became enlightened. He thought to drop everything, run through the forest, and say “Thank you!” to the teacher. Instead he stayed sweeping, calm & smiling.              [...]

János Starker Remembrance Week: A Tribute To János Starker

By Maria Kliegel A moment of tense, expectant silence – to me it seemed to be an eternity. A couple of silent smoky clouds floating in the teaching room.  Janos Starker looked at me in his typical manner, a gaze so full of intensity that I could feel it under my skin, followed by a shattering comment, uttered with a cool slowness and a stony, unchangeable look on his face:  “if you ever play as inaccurately as you just did, I will deny ever having been your teacher.“ And again, an eternal moment of silence, this time I sat horrified in my chair, not being able to breathe or move. Silent smoky clouds. One of my lessons in Bloomington ended this way – the Haydn D major concerto. […]

János Starker Remembrance Week: Reminiscences from the Starker Studio

Cello-playing aside, Starker’s intelligence, force of personality, and personal discipline were intimidating to most people, and downright frightening to students.  Our culture generally allows our geniuses and high achievers to be self-indulgent and immature outside of their field of endeavor, but Starker lived out his ideals and principles at all times (that we could see).  This discipline made him virtually bullet-proof as a cellist. During my two years in Bloomington, I carried a relatively light course load, as I wanted to observe as many lessons as possible.  I was in MA 155 many mornings when he came in, looking tired and/or hungover, needing coffee, and not wanting to hear anything too loud.  The student would play for awhile, and Starker would listen as long as he could before had to [...]