Death of a great quartet violist

Peter Kamnitzer, viola player in the LaSalle Quartet, has died in Israel at the age of 93.

He co-founded the quartet at Juilliard in 1947 with fellow-refugees and played in it throughout the world until its disbandment in 1987.

peter kamnitzer

The LaSalle’s earned renown on Deutsche Grammophon as specialists in 20th century modernism, especially the Second Viennese School.

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  • Very sad news. Mr. Kamnitzer was a consummate musician who was passionate about the string quartet literature. He was a dedicated teacher and I learned a tremendous amount from coachings and lessons with him – from which he never asked for not accepted a dollar. He used to shout to me, “index finger!” when he desired a more pronounced articulation, usually for a rhythmic figure. I was fortunate to have been close with him in Cincinnati and loved hearing his stories of the early days of the LaSalle Quartet. I was honored to have performed and recorded on his 1619 Brothers Amati viola for 6 years, a marvelous instrument. The last time I saw him was when I returned the instrument in Cincinnati where I thanked him profusely for the opportunity to have played the instrument and told him how much I had learned from him. I shall never forget him and everything he taught me.

  • Sad news. Only two are left, and Walter Levin’s lucidity is not 100%.

    (The complete birth and death dates as well as years of membership in the LaSalle are on QuartetWeb. Who played when in the quartet is often misstated; a few early members have been forgotten.)

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