Injured US concertmaster dies, 94

Injured US concertmaster dies, 94


norman lebrecht

October 24, 2022

The death is recorded of Harold Wippler, concertmaster of the Denver Symphony from 1955 until a skiing injury in the 1960s cost him the top job. He left the orchestra in 1987, continuing as a sought-after teacher at the University of Denver.

Obituary by Laurie Niles here.


  • NYMike says:

    In 1948, Denver Symphony conductor Saul Caston called my mother, informing her that Curtis grad Harold Wippler was coming to Denver and that I ought to study with him. I was a high school sophomore and he was four years my senior. I was undoubtedly the first student of his long illustrious teaching career as well as his mentee. We became fast friends, enjoying many meals, laughs, and DSO post-concert drinks with his wife Charleen before I left Denver for bigger pastures. We remained close with shared phone conversations, photos, and e-mails until earlier this month when – on returning from Europe – I found an e-mail from his daughter informing me of his passing.
    Harold was one of the very finest human beings I’ve ever known.

  • Holly says:

    I studied with Harold Wippler for 5 years, before I left for college. And even then, I’d still come back to him for lessons! He was gracious, patient, kind, and always encouraging.

    Many times, my lessons would go well over the hour mark, and those were the best times. When a lesson would go long I knew I was on the right track.

    Occasionally I’d win a concerto competition and he’d congratulate me, but then quickly pull me back to earth to continue working on new and refined goals. He never let my ego get the best of me!

    For years I kept in touch with Harold, updating him on various auditions I’d won or solo appearances.

    When I called Harold with my most recent update, both a new concertmaster position and a number of solo engagements around the country, he replied with, “Well that ought to keep you off the streets!”

    Harold was never the kind of teacher that gushed. His praise was subtle. And he was never the kind of teacher to criticize. He had a wonderful and healthy balance of instruction that kept his students focused and well rounded.

    I’m grateful for the musician and person he helped me become.