But Mr. Starker also possessed an endearing sense of humility. It was on display every time he gave a lesson and declined to call it a “master class,” preferring the simpler term “seminar.”
Janos Starker was born July 5, 1924, in Budapest. He gave his first recitals at age 6, according to Indiana University, and made his professional debut as a teenager. Before his internment during World War II, he studied at his city’s Franz Liszt Academy of Music.
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’ ” (2008).
He immigrated to the United States in 1948 and became a U.S. citizen several years later. He played with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and, under conductor Fritz Reiner, the Metropolitan Opera orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra before joining Indiana University in 1958 and beginning his solo performing career in earnest. He continued teaching until shortly before his death.
His memoir, “The World of Music According to Starker,” was published in 2004.
Mr. Starker’s first marriage, to Eva Uranyi, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 52 years, the former Rae Busch, of Bloomington; a daughter from his first marriage, Gabriella Starker-Saxe of Toronto; a stepdaughter from his second marriage, whom he adopted, violinist Gwen Preucil of Cleveland; and three grandchildren.
In the world of classical music, artists pursue a command of Bach, such as the one possessed by Mr. Starker at the height of his ability, as if it were a sort of holy grail.
“Except for a man’s limited time and capacity, one hopes it never ends,” Mr. Starker told The Post. “Bach’s creations will remain as long as human aspirations center on art and music.”