By Jacob Stockinger
Below is an obituary with a lot of information about specifics and biographical history.
I only want to add that I met and heard Laufer several times when the Fine Arts Quartet (below top) would still come twice a season to the “Sunday Afternoon Live From The Elvehjem/Chazen” chamber music concerts in Madison, sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio and the University of Wisconsin.
I heard his mellow, rich but balanced cello playing in many masterpieces – I loved his Beethoven and Haydn — and in contemporary music. He and the quartet also recorded quartets by Schumann, Franck, Bruckner and Mendelssohn.
I don’t know what his death means for the future of the quartet, which just a few years ago had to replace the violist who took a teaching post in Michigan. But I hope they continue to travel the globe giving concerts and to record for Naxos and other labels in addition to teaching at the UW-Milwaukee.
I also hope they return again soon and often to the “Sunday Live” programs (below) where they always drew big and appreciative crowds.
I wouldn’t call Wolfgang a personal friend, but he was a professional contact, a spokeman for the quartet, and I spoke to him several times. A thoroughly serious and highly accomplished musician, he always had a ready laugh and a quick wit.
He was talented, accessible and congenial – a good mix, it seems to me, for an exemplary chamber musician and a great teacher. I am sorry he is gone too soon.
In his memory, I think I will tonight and tomorrow night listen to two of my favorite recordings with him and the venerable and accomplished Fine Arts Quartet: the Mozart‘s six Viola Quintets on Lyrinx and the Faure two Piano Quintets, with pianist Cristina Ortiz, on Naxos (below). And at the bottom of this, I am adding another cello work to mourn him.
You and your art gave much pleasure to many people. Rest in peace, Wolfgang Laufer.
Here is a link to his obituary:
I hope other readers – and especially cellists – will leave a comment or recollection in the Comments section.
The Ear wants to hear.