Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Fredell Lack (19 February 1922 – 20 August 2017)

11:04, 30th August 2017

The American violinist and pedagogue Fredell Lack has died aged 95.

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lack was received her first violin lessons from soloist Tosca Berger at the age of six. She developed quickly, giving public performances by the age of eight.

When she was ten, she moved with her family to Houston, Texas, where she continued her studies with Josephine Boudreaux.

When she was 12, Louis Persinger – whose other students included Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern – accepted her as a student. She moved to New York, leaving her family in Houston.

Lack made her professional debut aged 17 in Mendelssohn’s concerto with the St Louis Symphony. She won a scholarship to Juilliard School to continue her studies with Persinger, graduating in 1943.

Around this time, she acquired the 1727 ‘Baron Deurbroucq’ Stradivari, which she chose from a selection while blindfolded.

Although Lack received the bronze medal and the Prix de Liege in the 1951 Queen Elisabeth Competition, The Strad has described this as the year she ‘effectively stepped back from the potential for a truly stellar career’She moved back to Houston, and the following year lost the tip of the fourth finger on her left hand from a dog bite, forcing her to take a break from the instrument and adjust her technique.

She created the nonprofit group Young Audiences, and in 1955 founded the Lyric Art Quartet with three principal players from the Houston Symphony.

Her teaching career began in 1959 when she was appointed as a professor at the University of Houston. She taught part-time from 1988, but remained there until her retirement in 2008. Celebrated pupils include Frank Huang and Luke Hsu.

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