Reprinted from The Strad 12/14/2016 South Korean cellist Taeguk Mun has won the János Starker Foundation Award, worth $25,000. Granted to cellists under the age of 30 ‘who have already begun a significant career in music’, the prize was created in memory of legendary Hungarian-American cellist and pedagogue János Starker, who died in April 2013 at the age of 88. Candidates submit an unedited video recording of six works, representing Pre-Classical, Classical, Romantic, 20th Century and Contemporary eras of Western music. A former Juilliard School student, Mun is currently a pupil of Laurence Lesser at the New England Conservatory in Boston. He won the Pablo Casals International Cello Competition in 2014, and the Andre Navarra International Cello Competition in 2011.
Like so many classically trained cellists, improvising was never something that I felt very comfortable trying. And although most of my professional life has been in the world of new music, improvisation was not something that I had explored in depth until a few years ago. My improvisational journey began literally the day after my final day with the Kronos Quartet when I played a concert at The Stone in New York with John Zorn and several others on one of his monthly improv nights. For those of you who have never been to one, the way that these concerts work is that everyone sits downstairs in the basement and one by one people decide in the moment who plays with whom. It can be duos, trios or quartets—you literally [...]
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. [...]
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. […]
Starker with pianist Gyorgy Sebok – life-long friend and musical partner of Starker. By Michael Haber Many years ago, I was on a family trip to Israel. In a hotel in Beersheva, I was surprised to find Mr. Starker standing in the lobby together with the conductor of the Israel Sinfonietta. I greeted Mr. Starker………”Janos Starker, who is, was, and always will be my master.” What has remained with me since my final lesson with Mr. Starker in August 1966 is his personal brilliance as a man and his deep patience and kindness. His way of being kind, which often meant an uncompromising honesty, was perhaps not for everyone. But what is more kind, in a teacher/student relationship, than taking a student seriously enough to share with them what [...]
János Starker “S” Bridge János Starker’s incomparable achievements as a performer and recording artist are well-documented. However, when I first appeared at his door as a new graduate student, my awareness of him mostly stemmed from hearing others speak about him, and from only one of his recordings: that of Zoltan Kodaly’s Sonata, Op. 8. I had developed a mental image of Mr. Starker as an austere, intimidating presence. Paul Katz, with whom I had been studying at Eastman, enjoyed a longstanding friendship with Mr. Starker, and in those years Paul would often send a graduating senior to Bloomington for further education. […]
CelloBello Remembers János Starker Please join us for a full week of events and video releases,to remember and honor this great figure of the cello world.Preview of upcoming events: New Videos of Never-Before Seen Interviews Newly released interview videos of János Starker in conversation with Paul Katz in 2010. April 22: Growing as a PerformerApril 23: Releasing TensionApril 24: Rhythmic FreedomApril 25: VibratoApril 26: His Performance AnxietyApril 27: His Difficult, Early Years Please visit our János Starker CelloLegacy section on CelloBello.com each day to view the newest video. Daily Blogs A new blog each day at CelloBlog by former Starker students and family includingRobert Battey, Paul Katz, Maria Kliegel, Alexandra Preucil (Starker’s granddaughter),Brant Taylor and Jeffrey Zeigler. CelloChatsYour chance to ask questions about Starker’s cello teachings and hear personal anecdotes and stories of the master! 3 special CelloChats with former students of Starker Reminiscing: What I Learned From János Starkerall [...]
A Tribute to Legendary Cellist János Starker (1924 - 2013) Performances by: Rafael Figueroa - Principal Cellist, Metropolitan Opera Elmira Darvarova - Former Concertmaster, Metropolitan Opera The New York Chamber Music Festival is cordially inviting you to the JANOS STARKER TRIBUTE CONCERT on October 3 at 7 P.M., presented by the New York Chamber Music Festival at the Hungarian Consulate in New York (223 E. 52nd St.). Legendary cellist János Starker was one of the world’s greatest performers, teachers and recording artists, with an incomparable legacy and impact. The New York Chamber Music Festival, of which János Starker was Vice-President, is deeply mourning his passing. Please join us for a tribute, in the presence of Starker family members. Admission is free.
“In a work of art the intellect asks questions; it does not answer them” -Friedrich Hebbel Few tasks are more daunting than attempting to discern and convey J.S. Bach’s precise intentions for his Cello Suites. Just playing them is hard enough, but a true and meaningful interpretation of the Suites requires an entirely different heuristic model than that of our other repertoire. This is because the autograph of the Suites has been lost, and we are left only with several flawed and inconsistent copies. Since there is no original source, everything, from notes to rhythms to phrasings, must be questioned. With many pieces, one can rely on the fidelity and accuracy of a high-quality edition, prepared either from autographs or composer-supervised prints. There, you have the simple choice of either [...]