Karen Kamensek recalls how the great cellist, who died this week, set her on a path to her vocation. Karen is music director at Hanover State Opera in Germany.
My days in the Starker studio
“A little birdie told me that you want to be a conductor.” Those words were spoken directly to me, an 18 year-old kid from New Albany, Indiana, by the great cello and music master Janos Starker, as I sat at the piano waiting for the cellist whose lesson I was accompanying to change her broken string.
There were other students on the periphery of the room observing the lessons, so I turned around to see who he could have been addressing, when I realized, with a leap in my heart, that he had in fact spoken directly TO ME! Until this moment, the only words that had ever passed between us in my first 14 months as an Indiana University piano performance major were good-mornings, hellos, and definitely a whole slew of respectful and awe-struck yes-sirs from my side. The year was 1988.