Franck Chevalier of the Diotima Quartet reports the death of his teacher Walter Levin, founder of the La Salle Quartet and coach of innumerable members of frontline quartets. Walter was 92.
Born in Berlin, he fled with his family to Palestine in 1938. He met his LaSalle colleagues at Juilliard after the War and set about playing unheard works of modernism by Schoenberg and his circle. They obtained a residency at Cincinnati College of Music, where Walter discovered and taught James Levine from the age of 10.
A contract with Deutsche Grammophon enabled the group to record unheard works by Zemlinsky, Lutoslawski, Ligeti, Nono and Penderecki. Technically, they were the outstanding quartet of the 1970s, in a class of their own.
After the LaSalles disbanded in 1987, Walter continued teaching for some years in Switzerland, eventually moving to Chicago where he entered a retirement home after being diagnosed with dementia.
We will not see his like again.