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Kay Stern

Kay Stern teaching while holding violin


Office 308


Courses Taught

Applied Lessons

Violin Performance

Violin Orchestral Excerpts


M.M., The Juilliard School

B.M., The Juilliard School


San Francisco Opera, Concertmaster, 1994–Present

Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Concertmaster

Lark Quartet


What is your hometown?

Marion, OH

What is your favorite recording?

While growing up, listening to Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra perform Brahms’ symphonies.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

My daughter! (A violinist!) Walks at the beach, reading.

Who were your major teachers?

Michael Davis and Dorothy DeLay.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“It is not a dynamic, it is a dynamic-character. It is not a tempo marking, it is a tempo-character.”

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

When I was a young child, already "playing" the violin, my dad took me to a performance by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. There was only one woman in the first violin section. My dad pointed to her and told me that I could do that some day.

What was a turning point in your career?

When I was at Juilliard, I became a founding member of the Lark Quartet. Within the first year, we placed in an international competition, we had management, a publicity firm, and a chamber music residency at the newly built Ordway Theater in St. Paul. Our board of directors supplied for us the financial means to take coachings and lessons from whomever we wanted, as often as we wanted. These were profound years in developing my confidence in how and why I play music.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

A lawyer?

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

Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert.

What are your most important collaborations?

Chamber music with Robert Mann, Donald Weilerstein, and Joseph Kalichstein.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Concerto and chamber music recordings can be heard on Phillips, Nonesuch, Innova, MusicMasters, Koch International, Gramavision, and Albany Records. Most recently, I am featured on the Violins of Hope album (Pentatone Music label), a live performance recording of chamber works performed on restored Holocaust instruments.

What is your unrealized project?

To perform all of the Haydn quartets.