Starker

Conversation with Aldo Parisot

Long acknowledged as one of the world's master cellists, Aldo Parisot has led the career of a complete artist —as concert soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, and teacher. He has been heard with the major orchestras of the world, including Berlin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Rio, Munich, Warsaw, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, etc. under the batons of such eminent conductors as Stokowski, Barbirolli, Bernstein, Mehta, Monteux, Paray, Carvalho, Sawallisch, Hindemith, and Villa-Lobos. As an artist seeking to expand his instrument's repertoire, Mr. Parisot has premiered numerous works for the cello, written especially for him by such composers as Carmago Guarnieri, Quincy Porter, Alvin Etler, Claudio Santoro, Joan Panetti, Yehudi Wyner, and Villa-Lobos, whose Cello Concerto No. 2 (written for and dedicated to him) was premiered by Mr. Parisot in his New [...]

Conversation with Gary Hoffman

American cellist Gary Hoffman was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1956. At 15 he made his London recital debut in Wigmore Hall; his New York recital debut occurred in 1979. At the age of 22 he became the youngest faculty appointee in the history of Indiana University School of Music, where he remained for eight years. Mr. Hoffman, who is frequently invited to hold master classes, has coached cellists at numerous institutions and festivals, including Aspen, the Gregor Piatigorsky Seminar at the University of Southern California, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Casals Festival in Prades, the Eastman School of Music, Schleswig-Holstein, Verbier, Ravinia, etc. He achieved international renown following his victory at the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris in 1986. He has appeared as soloist with some of the [...]

Conversation with Paul Katz

Paul Katz is known to concertgoers the world over as cellist of the Cleveland Quartet, which during an international career of 26 years, made more than 2,500 appearances on four continents. As a member of the celebrated ensemble from 1969-1995, Katz performed at the White House and on many television shows, including "CBS Sunday Morning," NBC's "Today Show," "The Grammy Awards" (the first classical musicians to appear on that show,) and in "In The Mainstream: The Cleveland Quartet," a one hour documentary televised across the U.S. and Canada. In collaboration with the country's largest PBS station, WGBH Boston, and the New England Conservatory of Music, Katz has recently embarked on an extensive DVD/Website project on cello pedagogy, an endeavor that will occupy much of his next two years. Katz has [...]

Master Class Report: János Starker 2/29/01

Benaroya Hall, Seattle, USA, 2/29/01 The following are my notes from the master class Janos Starker gave in Seattle. 10 minutes before the class was to start, Seattle experienced a 6.8 earthquake. Apparently, Janos Starker was calm as can be backstage when it happened. The class ended up starting only 1/2 hour late. —by Tim Janoff   Left Hand Anticipated Shift -- Slide before the bow change and land on the note at the bow change. Delayed Shift -- Slide after the bow change. Thumb Placement in Thumb Position -- A hitchhiking thumb allows more overtones, but it is harder to play in tune. Placing the thumb on the neighboring string is more solid, but it allows fewer overtones. The technique of the future is to place the thumb beneath the [...]

Conversation with János Starker (2)

"With his peerless technical mastery and intensely expressive playing, Janos Starker is universally recognized as one of the world’s supreme musicians." (New York Times) János Starker was born in Budapest in 1924 and began studying the cello at the age of six. By the age of eight he was coaching his first pupil, and by eleven he was performing in public. His early career took him through Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy, and on to positions of first cellist with the Budapest Opera and Philharmonic at the end of World War Two. In 1948 he emigrated to the United States where he subsequently held the posts of principal cellist with the Dallas Symphony, Metropolitan Opera of New York, and the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner. In 1956 he started his world-wide [...]

Practicing, Some Practice Advice (Part 1) — by Michael Haber

I've written this brief essay for purely selfish reasons: I like to see my students improve. When they do, I feel happy, they feel happy, I go home for dinner a happy man. What follows is intended to help you organize your practicing, and your thinking about your practicing, in an effective way. Your progress, mine too, depends on the quality and quantity of this work. It's also intended to encourage you to practice, period. Not all of my students are always inclined to work as well and as much as they should. I should confess from the beginning that I have always loved practicing. It is the royal road to instrumental mastery and the incomparable satisfaction of playing music as well as it deserves to be played. I have [...]

Reminder: Memorial for Janos Starker at Indiana University this Sunday, September 22

  All invited to the Janos Starker Memorial at Indiana University, Sunday, Sept. 22. A message from Janos Starker’s daughter, Gwen Preucil; I am writing to let you all know that there will be a memorial for my father at Indiana University on Sunday, September 22nd at 4 pm at the Musical Arts Center in Bloomington, Indiana. […]

Remembering Hungarian Cello Master János Starker — by Benjamin Ivry

Having survived a Nazi internment camp during World War II, Hungarian Jewish cellist János Starker (1924-2013) led a life focused on civic contributions and behaving with utter freedom. Starker, who died in Indiana on April 28 at age 88, witnessed some of the worst horrors of modern history, and was determined to devote himself to constructing the future. He and his parents, of Polish-Ukrainian Jewish origin, survived their imprisonment, but his two older brothers Tibor and Ede, both accomplished violinists, were murdered in Nazi labor camps. Starker’s notion of free behavior included a lifelong habit of consuming quantities of whiskey and cigarettes, neither of which impeded his ferociously concentrated playing. It also embraced free speech, even when the expression of his musical taste might wound students or established colleagues. In [...]

A Celebration of Janos Starker in Memories & Music: Toronto, July 27-28

A Message from Gabriella Starker It is overwhelming as well as comforting to read and hear the outpouring of respect, memories and emotion since my father left us. I am still emotionally unable to look at all of it. I know I will eventually. My father was my inspiration, my mentor, my strongest and most demanding critic and my great friend. I know that most of you would say exactly the same. His devotion and passion for those he taught and inspired was all encompassing. Nothing gave him greater joy or pleasure. Personally I am reeling from the loss of my daddy, even the detail that he was the last family I could speak with in Hungarian when it came to the basics and not the intellectual pursuits. Life without [...]

Remembering János Starker: July 5, 1924-April 28, 2013

“What is the role of music in society?… Music is one of the essentials in human existence, almost identical with eating, sleeping, making love, the basic functions that keep a human being alive. Music simply, is one of the blessings and joys of civilized human existence.”   – János Starker View Janos Starker performances and interviews at https://cellobello.org/legacy/starker-the-teacher ------------------ János Starker Tributes From Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi: The passing of my dear mentor and inspiration, János Starker, is indeed profoundly sad news, even though we have been expecting this at any moment. It is a great honour for me to write about him, and it causes so many wonderful memories to flood my mind.  The only thing I can say at this moment is that he was not only a truly incredible cellist, musician, artist, [...]

Passing It On — by Brant Taylor

A few weeks back, I was having a post-concert drink with my friend and colleague Joshua Gindele, cellist of the Miro Quartet, and the conversation turned to teaching. Though we are both associated with ensembles that perform dozens of concerts every season, teaching the cello is an important component of both of our musical lives. (Josh teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, and I teach at DePaul University.) Discussions on the general relationship between performing and teaching often give rise to interesting questions, some without straightforward answers. Many performers teach even though the skill sets required for good teaching and good performing are far from identical. If great teaching is something that is learned, when and how are the skills acquired? If a performer is a big star [...]

A New Look at Sight-Reading (Part 3) — by Robert Battey

Successful sight-readers move deftly around within a rigid hierarchy of tasks (“the Levels”).  They’re like fencers, thinking ahead, anticipating the threats and challenges in the music, and adapting what they do on a measure-by-measure basis.  They keep to the hierarchy, adding the next Level only when the lower ones are completely under control; experienced players do not jeopardize the ensemble by fumbling at a Level they can’t handle properly. Thus, effective sight-reading training is about understanding these Levels to the point where you can apply and adjust them instinctively, automatically.  As I’ve said, it’s a different kind of thinking, almost like playing a different instrument.  For most people, the most difficult concept to wrap your head around is that finding the actual pitches comes last.  Simply chasing notes will quickly [...]

Finesse — by Brant Taylor

Any musician who has interests outside the realm of music has probably discovered ideas and concepts important to other disciplines which are directly applicable to the study and performance of music.  The lessons we can learn about greatness from outside our own field are often very powerful because the underlying principles tend to be universal and not confined to any single discipline.  For the famed American chef Thomas Keller, there is one word he uses to describe his entire philosophy of approaching his craft at the highest level: finesse.  Chef Keller apparently doesn't want anyone who works for him to forget it—the word and its dictionary definition are emblazoned directly on the tiles above the entrance to the kitchen at Per Se, his high-end (and delicious) New York City restaurant: [...]