Sadness: Cancer claims a prodigious cellist, 36

November 27, 2017 by norman lebrecht


The international cellist and composer Wolfgang Zamastil died yesterday, after a 14-month struggle, of pancreatic cancer.

Originally from Salzburg, Wolf found his composing voice during a year in Frankfurt with the Ensemble Modern.

He joined the group around the New York choreographer Richard Siegal, who says: ‘He helped shape the direction of my work by starring in or creating roles in four productions over 10 years.’ Wolf set up his own instrumental ensemble, produced several CDs and played cello in the Asasello Quartet of Cologne.

He leaves a wife, Frederica, and two small children.


The quartet has posted this appreciation:

Wolfgang Zamastil (13.03.1981 – 26.11.2017)
Der Tod ist alterslos. Und das müssen wir auch schon in unserem „zarten“ Alter feststellen. Leider tut es sehr weh. Wir sind vom Tod unseren ehemaligen Cellisten Wolfgang Zamastil, Vollzeit-Asasello in den Jahren 2010-2014, zutiefst getroffen und bedrückt. Wir sind vorbereitet unvorbereitet… Uns fehlen die Worte… Unser tiefstes Beileid geht an die Grossfamilie Zamastil. Ruhe in Frieden, lieber Wolfi…

Death has no age. And we have to realize this already in our “tender” age. Unfortunately this hurts very much. We are deeply touched and dejected about the death of our former Cellist Wolfgang Zamastil, Full-time Asasello from 2010 until 2014. We are prepared unprepared… We are speechless… Our deepest condolences to the Family Zamastil. Rest in Piece, Dear Wolfi…

Comments (7)

  1. Ken Thompson says:

    The music in the video is lovely– can anyone identify it? And the deadpan choreography (and underwear!) are certainly intriguing.

    1. Ken Thompson says:

      Richard Siegal: “If Then” for Strings

    2. Paul Silverthorne says:

      The music is based on themes from Janacek’s 1st Quartet (Kreutzer Sonata).

  2. Paul Cannon says:

    Absolutely devastating. He was a brilliant cellist and a beautiful human being.

    1. sue says:

      Beyond hideous. Still so young. My mother died of that disease and it’s horrific.

  3. Richard Siegal says:

    Thank you, Norman, for helping to inform the world of this tragedy. The loss I feel personally is nothing compared to what art has suffered. We will never know the exact shape of the beauty that might have emerged from his brilliant young soul. Nor can we know the exponential good his music and person might have inspired in future generations. But I can say with utmost certainty that Wolfie’s unique, gentle, and monumental presece would have continued to impact the world positively wherever it encountered him. He could not do otherwise. In deep sorrow, Richard Siegal

    1. Audience says:

      beauty in words inbetween sadness.

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