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Cellist Lutz Rath has Died, Aged 78

As well as being Artistic Director of the Washington Square Music Festival, Ratz led a varied career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, and pedagogue


Born in a bomb shelter in Krefeld, Germany, German-American cellist and conductor Ludwig (Lutz) Rath, was originally planning to pursue a career in medicine — but was persuaded otherwise by the renowned cello pedagogue Janos Starker.

Rath accordingly immigrated to the United States to study at Indiana University and after graduating, began his career in New York City.

Rath wore many hats in his career. As an orchestral musician, he served as the principal cellist of the Munich Philharmonic and spent 25 years playing in the cello section of the Orchestra of St. Luke's.

As a chamber player, he was the cellist of the International String Quartet for a decade, winning the Grand Prix at the International Chamber Music Competition in Evian, France, and touring Europe, Asia, South America, and the US. He also served in the Elysium Quartet and recorded with Lukas Foss and Stanley Drucker on the Elysium label.

Lutz served on the faculty at Brown University, the University of Indiana, and Bennington College. He was also the Artistic Director of New York's Washington Square Music Festival, where he appeared on numerous occasions as a soloist and in various chamber ensembles.

Rath is survived by his partner Jenna Saint Pierre. Our condolences to Rath's family, friends, and colleagues.

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