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
Janos Starker - The Mercury Living Presence Recordings
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002065602   Number of Discs: 10
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Berlioz: Harold in Italy; Bloch / Starker, Benyamini
Release Date: 04/08/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002005402   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 51-75 of 105 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Starker Plays Haydn Cello Concertos
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3341 Release Date: 02/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  János Starker
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Elgar: Symphonies No 1 & 2, Etc / Slatkin, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 60389 Release Date: 06/08/2004   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  János Starker
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 53.
    Cello Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000233402 Release Date: 05/11/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Alexander Borodin,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Lloyd Webber,  Bruno Canino,  Lynn Harrell,  John Lenehan  ... 
    Conductor:  James Judd,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Antal Doráti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 54.
    Musically Speaking - Haydn: Cello Concerto, Symphony No 103
    Label: Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog: 3151 Release Date: 10/07/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  János Starker,  Gerard Schwarz
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Peter Mennin
    Label: First Edition   Catalog: 13 Release Date: 09/09/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Mennin
    Performer:  János Starker
    Conductor:  Jorge Mester,  Robert Whitney
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Louisville Orchestra
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  • 56.
    American Classics - Explore America Vol 1
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559187 Release Date: 05/20/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Florence Beatrice Price,  John Philip Sousa,  Charles Ives,  Michael Torke  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Corley,  Darryl Taylor,  Colin Currie,  William Bolcom  ... 
    Conductor:  Keith Brion,  James Sinclair,  Marin Alsop,  William T. Stromberg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Artillery Band,  Northern Sinfonia,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 57.
    Masters Of The Bow - Cello / Rostropovich, Casals, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000020902 Release Date: 05/13/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Olivier Messiaen,  Gabriel Fauré,  Scott Joplin,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice Gendron,  Jean Françaix,  Bruno Canino,  Lynn Harrell  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian,  Nicholas Cleobury,  Riccardo Chailly,  Willem van Otterloo  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Chamber Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 58.
    Midnight Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000030302 Release Date: 05/13/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Jacques Offenbach,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Kerr,  André Previn,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Rhondda Gillespie  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge,  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Christopher Hogwood  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Salonisti,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 59.
    American Classics - Diamond: Symphony No 3, Etc / Schwartz  , Starker, Seattle So
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559155 Release Date: 04/15/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Diamond
    Performer:  János Starker
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 60.
    American Classics - Hovhaness: Symphony No 22, Etc
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559158 Release Date: 04/15/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alan Hovhaness
    Performer:  János Starker
    Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies,  Alan Hovhaness
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 61.
    The #1 Bach Album
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 472758 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock,  Wolfgang Rübsam,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  Karl Richter,  Barry Rose,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Concert,  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir  ... 
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  • 62.
    Trio - Brahms: Complete Concertos, Overtures /Brendel, Et Al
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 473267 Release Date: 01/14/2003   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  János Starker,  Alfred Brendel
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Baby Needs Beauty
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1622 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger,  Corey Cerovsek,  János Starker,  Angel Romero  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian,  Gerard Schwarz,  Lev Kontorovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Chamber Orchestra,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Spiritual Revival Choir of Moscow
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  • 64.
    Baroque Adagios
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470460 Release Date: 02/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Trevor Connah,  Tommaso Ruta,  Gino Del Vescovo  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Raymond Agoult,  Anthony Lewis,  Iona Brown  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  I Musici,  New Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 65.
    Label: Cello Classics   Catalog: 11006 Release Date: 11/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emanuel Moor,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ennio Bolognini  ... 
    Performer:  Wilfred Parry,  Zara Nelsova,  Pablo Casals,  Blas Net  ... 
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  • 66.
    Movie Adagios / Solti, Tebaldi, Lupu, Schiff, Fleming, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 468506 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Giacomo Puccini,  Andrea Morricone  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Renée Fleming,  Dietfried Gürtler  ... 
    Conductor:  András Schiff,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Nick Ingman,  Charles Dutoit  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Prague Philharmonia  ... 
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  • 67.
    Cello For Relaxation / Isserlis, Harnoy, Starker, Et Al
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63798 Release Date: 06/19/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener,  Robert Schumann,  Frederick Delius,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Christoph Eschenbach,  János Starker,  Ofra Harnoy  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin,  Paul Robinson,  Antonio de Almeida,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Toronto Chamber Orchestra,  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 68.
    Rachmaninoff For Relaxation / Ormandy, Janis, Starker, Et Al
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63799 Release Date: 06/19/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Mikhail Kazakevich,  Dmitri Alexeev,  Alexis Weissenberg,  János Starker  ... 
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Fritz Reiner,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 69.
    Starker Plays Baker
    Label: Classics Records Fr   Catalog: 1032 Release Date: 04/24/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Nathaniel Baker
    Performer:  Alain Plančs,  János Starker,  George Gaber
    DVD Audio: $15.99
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  • 70.
    Label: Budapest Music Center/Bmc (Hungary)   Catalog: 18 Release Date: 11/21/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Leó Weiner
    Performer:  György Sebok,  János Starker,  Melinda Felletar,  Antal Szalai
    Conductor:  Tibor Varga,  Zsolt Hamar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Chamber Orchestra
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  • 71.
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto, Choral Fantasy / Arrau, Brendel, Haitink, Et Al
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4643682 Release Date: 10/02/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  János Starker,  Claudio Arrau,  Henryk Szeryng,  Alfred Brendel
    Conductor:  Eliahu Inbal,  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Chorus,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 72.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto, Double Concerto
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 468172 Release Date: 09/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  János Starker
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 73.
    Starker Plays Baker / János Starker, Alain Plančs, Et Al
    Label: Laurel   Catalog: 817 Release Date: 07/30/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Nathaniel Baker
    Performer:  János Starker,  Alain Plančs,  George Gaber
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  • 74.
    Essential Bach
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 466465 Release Date: 06/13/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Raymond Leppard,  András Schiff,  Alicia De Larrocha,  José Luis Garcia  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Raymond Agoult,  András Schiff,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  ... 
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  • 75.
    A Day In The Life Of Lucky - Music For You & Your Dog
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 1617 Release Date: 03/21/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Aaron Copland,  Erik Satie  ... 
    Performer:  Wendy Kerner Lucas,  Elmar Oliveira,  János Starker,  Leonidas Kavakos  ... 
    Conductor:  James DePreist,  Constantine Orbelian,  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra,  Moscow Chamber Orchestra,  Seattle Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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