David Starkweather

Albert Christ-Janer Creative Research Award 2022

Photograph of David Starkweather

David Starkweather, professor of cello in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music since 1983, has profoundly affected the cello world. He is internationally known as a consummate interpreter of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Suites for Violoncello Solo, a keystone of the cello repertoire. Most likely written in 1720, the original manuscript in Bach’s hand is lost. The lack of a clear primary source is an interpretive challenge for cellists. Over three decades, Starkweather has researched, edited and published innovative editions of the Bach suites, culminating in a comprehensive 614-page edition which vertically aligns the various sources line by line. The pdf (optimized for iPad) is navigated with a system of hyperlinks. He meticulously marks all differences in pitch, rhythm, slurs and articulations, allowing performers to make informed choices when grappling with interpretive decisions. This career-capping work seamlessly combines the best of two worlds: meticulous research and practical performance.