Alfred Staar: sound master

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As a leading proponent of the Viennese sound, Alfred Staar’s influence continues to be felt today – no fewer than 22 of his former students currently hold posts in the Vienna Philharmonic. Inga Brandini shares a conversation with the great professor from 15 March 2000, shortly before his death a ...

Alfred Staar was born on 2 June 1938 into a musical family. His father, Josef Staar I, was a violinist and orchestral conductor, his two brothers members of the Vienna Philharmonic: Josef Staar II (1935–2000) was solo violist; René Staar (b.1951) led the second violins and is still active as a composer and orchestral conductor. A soloist in his early years, Alfred Staar was a Vienna Philharmonic substitute player from the age of 16, joining the Vienna State Opera in 1961 and the first violins of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1964 to 1992. He became second violinist of the Weller Quartet from 1963 to 1972 and was concertmaster of the Vienna Mozart Ensemble under conductor Willi Boskovsky from 1969 to 1976. Towards the end of the 1960s he increasingly became involved in the training of young musicians. He later founded the International Music Forum Trenta, whose first course was overshadowed by his sudden death on 28 April 2000 aged 61. Staar is considered one of the most important violin pedagogues of the Viennese tradition in the last third of the 20th century. He taught two generations of orchestral musicians who went on to make their careers not only in Vienna but also in various orchestras worldwide.

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