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János Starker

Biography

Born: July 5, 1924; Budapest, Hungary   Died: April 28, 2013; Bloomington, IN  
Cellist Janos Starker was born in Hungary to music-loving Russian parents. His two brothers were violinists, and he was given a cello before he was six. He made public appearances at ages six and seven. Soon he entered the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, making his debut there at 11. He had begun teaching other children at eight, and by the time he was 12 he had five pupils. Starker regards the experience as important to his artistic Read more development. He found himself having to articulate phenomena that students his age rarely grasp, let alone impart to others. Starker was especially influenced by Leo Weiner, a composer who taught chamber music. He said that for more than 50 years Weiner taught every prominent Hungarian musician to learn and understand music as a language.

At 14 Starker made his professional debut playing the Dvorák concerto. He left the conservatory in 1939. After the war, when musical activities resumed, Starker became principal cellist of the Budapest Opera and the Budapest Philharmonic orchestras. Soviet Red Army forces had occupied the country, and the Communist Party was gaining dominance. Starker left the country in 1946 when relatively free travel was still possible.

He gave a successful concert in Vienna, then remained there to prepare for the Geneva Cello Competition, held in October 1946. He won only a bronze medal. "I played like a blind man," he has said. "What happens to the bird who sings and doesn't know how it sings? That's what happens to child prodigies." Starker set out to rebuild his technique. He analyzed all aspects of playing, from breathing to the physics of applying muscular force to the bow and the instrument, to phrasing, bowing, and fingering. By October of the following year he had regained his confidence. He decided to stay in the West due to the deteriorating political situation in Hungary, and headed for the United States, where Hungarian musicians had important positions.

Antal Dorati, music director of the Dallas Symphony, made Starker the orchestra's principal cellist. A year later Starker accepted Fritz Reiner's invitation to become principal cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In 1953 Reiner began a brilliant period as music director of the Chicago Symphony, and brought Starker with him to lead the cello section. Starker remained in Chicago until 1958, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1954 and bringing his family to the country. In 1958 he resigned his Chicago position in order to pursue his solo career. In the meantime, he had already begun making important recordings, including an early set of Bach suites. Easing the transition was an offer from Indiana University School of Music to join the faculty on a two-year trial basis. Starker quickly found Bloomington a congenial base, and attracted exceptionally talented students.

Starker's stage demeanor and public persona were rather restrained and undemonstrative. The unwary draw the same mistaken conclusion that also plagued Jascha Heifetz, charging Starker with coldness and lack of emotion. Discerning critics, however, have always tended to speak of the warmth and expressiveness of his playing. Another similarity to Heifetz lies in Starker's very focused tone, with a light, narrow, and quick vibrato. He proclaimed himself happier if, after a concert, people say "What beautiful music Schubert wrote" rather than "How well Starker plays." Similarly, he considered it at least as important to turn out the next generation of fine cello teachers as the next generation of star players. Read less
American Classics - Diamond: Symphony No 3, Etc / Schwartz  , Starker, Seattle So
Release Date: 04/15/2003   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559155   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 26-50 of 102 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Kodály: Sonata For Cello Solo, Etc / Starker
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422302 Release Date: 01/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Zoltán Kodály
    Performer:  Arnold Eidus,  János Starker,  Otto Herz
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  • 27.
    Dohnányi: Variations On A Nursery Song, / Boult, Susskind, Dohnányi, Starker
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 250231 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernö von Dohnányi
    Performer:  Ernö von Dohnányi,  János Starker
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 28.
    An Hour With Rachmaninov
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 731246 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Arcadi Volodos,  Shigeo Neriki,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Yuri Temirkanov,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 29.
    Adagios - Albinoni, Bach, Beethoven
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4695495 Release Date: 08/18/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alison Bury,  Monica Huggett,  Jos Konings,  Paul Dombrecht  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Jean-François Paillard,  Ton Koopman,  Michel Corboz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    EMI 20th Century Classics - Prokofiev
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6860 Release Date: 07/22/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Michel Béroff,  Michel Portal,  Frank Peter Zimmermann  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Charles Dutoit,  Efrem Kurtz,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Elgar, Walton: Cello Concertos;  Delius / Starker, Slatkin
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61695 Release Date: 05/15/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Frederick Delius,  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  János Starker
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 32.
    Classical Essentials - Cello Essentials - Bach, Bartok, De Falla, Debussy, Etc / Starker, Iwasaki, Neriki
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17686 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Manuel de Falla,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Shuku Iwasaki,  János Starker,  Shigeo Neriki
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  • 33.
    The Ultimate Most Relaxing Sacred Music In The Universe
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17702 Release Date: 03/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pietro Antonio Locatelli,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Gabriel Fauré,  Arcangelo Corelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gaële Le Roi,  Jean-Louis Gil,  François Le Roux,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Emmanuel Krivine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Italiani,  Lyon National Orchestra,  Lyon National Chorus
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  • 34.
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto;  Brahms: Double Concerto
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7716 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  János Starker,  Christian Ferras,  Paul Tortelier,  Eric Heidsieck
    Conductor:  Charles Bruck,  Jean Martinon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17677 Release Date: 02/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Jacques Offenbach,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Rouvier,  Ayako Shinozaki,  Shuku Iwashaki,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves,  Akeo Watanabe,  David Zinman,  Leopold Hager  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lunaire Ensemble,  Boccherini Quartet Tokyo
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  • 36.
    Martinu: Cello Sonatas / János Starker, Rudolf Firkusny
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61220 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu
    Performer:  János Starker,  Rudolf Firkusny
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  • 37.
    Rachmaninov, Brahms: Cello Sonatas; Schumann: Fantasiestücke
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 60598 Release Date: 07/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  János Starker,  Shigeo Neriki
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  • 38.
    Strauss: Don Quixote, Till Eulenspiegel / Starker, Slatkin
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 60561 Release Date: 07/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Oscar Lysy,  János Starker,  Andreas Röhn
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Period Classics - Janos Starker's Legendary Period Lps Vol 1
    Label: Essential Media   Catalog: 942311021 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Friedrich Grützmacher
    Performer:  János Starker
    Conductor:  Maximilian Pilzer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Castle Hill Festival Orchestra
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  • 40.
    Messiaen: La Transfiguration De Jesus Christ, Etc / Dorati
    Label: London/Decca Enterprise   Catalog: 425616 Release Date: 04/09/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Olivier Messiaen
    Performer:  János Starker,  Frank Ames,  Ronald Barnett,  John Kane  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.,  Westminster Symphonic Choir
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  • 41.
    Perspectives - János Starker
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 442845 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Leó Weiner,  Bohuslav Martinu  ... 
    Performer:  János Starker,  György Sebok,  Stephen Swedish
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Magyar Modern / Louisville Orchestra
    Label: First Edition   Catalog: 1911 Release Date: 04/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mátyás Seiber,  Antal Doráti,  Zoltán Kodály
    Performer:  James Livingston,  János Starker
    Conductor:  Jorge Mester,  Robert Whitney
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Louisville Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Brahms: The Concertos / Berliner Symphoniker
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 99274 Release Date: 04/04/2006   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Emmy Verhey,  János Starker,  Borika Van Den Booren,  Karin Lechner
    Conductor:  Arpád Joó,  Eduardo Marturet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 44.
    Lovers' Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000615202 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Joaquin Rodrigo  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Maurice Hasson,  Henryk Szeryng,  Marisa Robles  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Bernard Haitink,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Charles Dutoit  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $26.99
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  • 45.
    Schumann, Lalo, Saint-saëns: Cello Concertos / János Starker
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 000530836 Release Date: 10/11/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Edouard Lalo,  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  János Starker
    Conductor:  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 46.
    The Children's Corner - Baby's First Album
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 17525 Release Date: 06/28/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Leroy Anderson,  Georges Bizet,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Konstantin Lifschitz,  Bruno-Leonardo Gelber,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves,  Rainer Miedel,  Emmanuel Krivine,  Jean Fournet  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra,  I Solisti Italiani  ... 
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  • 47.
    Beethoven Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000445002 Release Date: 05/10/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Henryk Szeryng,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Wilhelm Backhaus  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt,  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Sir Georg Solti,  Eliahu Inbal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Wind Soloists,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 48.
    Dvorák: Cello Concerto; Bruch, Tchaikovsky / Starker, Dorati
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 000450236 Release Date: 05/10/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Max Bruch,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  János Starker
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Janos Starker Celebration - Schubert & Boccherini
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3344 Release Date: 04/05/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Luigi Boccherini
    Performer:  János Starker,  Soovin Kim,  Kurt Nikkanen,  Kirsten Johnson  ... 
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  • 50.
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto;  Brahms / Fricsay, Et Al
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 000403402 Release Date: 03/08/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Wolfgang Schneiderhan,  János Starker,  Géza Anda,  Pierre Fournier
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
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