Janos Starker | Master cellist, 88

Grammy winner Janos Starker in 1999.
Grammy winner Janos Starker in 1999. (Los Angeles Times)
Posted: May 03, 2013

Janos Starker, 88, a Hungarian-born master of the cello who emerged from the devastation of World War II to become one of the most powerful instrumentalists of his generation, died Sunday at a hospice in Bloomington, Ind.

Indiana University, where Mr. Starker taught for more than five decades, announced his death but did not disclose the cause.

For decades, he was one of the most sought-after cellists in the world. He was venerated as a soloist and particularly as an interpreter of Bach, for which he received a Grammy in 1997.

The son of a Jewish tailor, he was a child prodigy and began his musical training in Budapest between the World Wars.

He survived internment in a Nazi work camp, where he said he practiced the cello in his head. His brothers, both of whom played the violin, perished during the war.

Mr. Starker immigrated to the United States in 1948 and became a U.S. citizen several years later.

After the Holocaust, he was "unafraid of anyone because he concluded that nothing worse could possibly happen to him," biographer Joyce Geeting wrote in Janos Starker: "King of Cellists." - Washington Post

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