The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Fine Arts Quartet cellist Wolfgang Laufer has died at 64 | June 14, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

Wolfgang Laufer (below), for almost 30 years the acclaimed cellist of the Fine Arts Quartet at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has died at 64 of lymphoma.

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.


Posted in Classical music


  1. Listen to John Reed’s version at:

    Click on the 7th CD tab at top and then on “Apres Un Reve”

    Comment by John Reed — September 22, 2011 @ 9:54 am

    • Hi John,
      Thank you for reading and replying with such specific advice.
      It’s a great piece. I will check out your tip.

      Comment by welltemperedear — September 22, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

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