Faculty - Hero - Prager
  1. Faculty

Madeline Prager


"Violist Prager, who spent 25 years playing and teaching in Germany before her return to the States in 2000, gave a performance that left me awed. She earned her cheers the hard way, with a complete musicianship able to surmount all artistic obstacles. I also admired her stage deportment: all dignified elegance, free of cheap waving of the bow and dancing about." —San Francisco Classical Voice


  • Private Lessons


  • Sacramento Chamber Society
  • Trio Concertino
  • Principal Violist with Stuttgart Philharmonic (1983–1991)


  • MM, Northwest Music Conservatory, Detmold, Germany
  • BA, University of California, Berkeley

What is your hometown?

Berkeley, CA

What are you passionate about outside of music?

I love hiking and fitness.

Who were your major teachers?

Detlev Olshausen and Bruno Giuranna.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“Practice makes permanent.”

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“What's the most effective way to practice this passage?”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

A defining moment for me was seeing a copy of the Bach Suites at my teacher's home, and wishing I would someday play them. I was about 10 years old then.

What was a turning point in your career?

A turning point for me was winning the principal violist job in the Wuerttemberg Chamber Orchestra in Germany. I remained a principal for 12 years, 3 in chamber orchestra, 9 in Symphony Orchestra, and had the honor of performing countless concerti.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Beethoven (quartets), Bach, and Hindemith.

From a music history perspective, what year and city are most important to you?

1685, Eisenach, Germany, when Bach was born.

What are your most important collaborations?

Kurt Rohde: Concerto White Boy/Man Invisible, commision and world premiere; Ysang Yun: Viola Duo, performed as a pre-premiere with Serge Collot; Luciano Berio: Chemins II (Sequenza) for viola and small ensemble, Germany.

Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?

Sasha Frombling (Faure Piano Quartet, Germany), and all my countless students over the years who have secured great jobs in major orchestras all over Germany. I am proud of every last one!

What recordings can we hear you on?

Bruch: Octet, CPO
Beethoven: Septet, Op. 20, Ho(e)rarchiv