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Madeline Prager

  • Viola
Madeline Prager headshot


AGC 403


Courses Taught

Applied 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


Madeline Prager has been teaching at SFCM since 2009, and has taught collegiate and pre-college at other music conservatories since graduate school in 1977. In addition, she has played as principal violist in major German orchestra and performed chamber music in many ensembles throughout her whole career. While living in Germany she taught at the Karlsruhe Conservatory as Professor of viola. In addition to playing and teaching, Madeline enjoys hiking and climbing peaks.