Master Cellist Janos Starker Dies At 88

Master cellist Janos Starker died on Sunday at his home in Bloomington, Indiana. Starker was one of the 20th century’s most renowned cellists.

Starker was born in Budapest in 1924 and his path to international stardom included surviving a Nazi labor camp. As a child prodigy, the cellist gave his first public performance at the age of six.

When he was just seven, Starker started studying cello with Adolf Cziffer at the Budapest Academy of Music. Just one year later he was teaching other children. He made his solo debut at the academy when he was 11 and was principal cellist of the Budapest Opera at the age of 15.

Janos Starker’s brothers died in a German detention camp when it was accidentally bombed by Americans. But the cellist survived. He left Hungary in 1946 and arrived in the United States in 1948. He quickly earned top honors in his new country, serving as principal cello for the Dallas Symphony and then the Metropolitan Opera.

Finally, Starker reached the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1953 and served as principal for five seasons. His career in the US lasted more than 50 years and his discography numbers more than 165 recordings. The prodigy cellist once stated of his career and passion:

“It is par of our lives in a way that we cannot wake up in the morning and go through life without music and without having this essential aspect of it, that music means just as much as eating and drinking or living.”

Janos Starker even won a Grammy Award in 1998 for his recording of Bach’s six suites for solo cello. His hallmark was a conspicuous lack of schmaltz. He also shunned the more dramatic playing of other cellists, which can include head tossing and body swaying. The master cellist once explained, “I’m not an actor. I don’t want to be one of those musicians who appears to be making love to himself on stage.”

Janos Starker’s death was announced by Indiana University, where he was a distinguished professor of music. He had suffered from declining health in recent months.

Share this article: Master Cellist Janos Starker Dies At 88
More from Inquisitr