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Violist Martha Strongin Katz Retires from the New England Conservatory

A noted soloist and founding member of the Cleveland Quartet, Strongin Katz served on faculty at NEC for 23 years


Violist Martha Strongin Katz, a founding member of the Cleveland Quartet, has recently retired from her professorship at the New England Conservatory (NEC) after a long and fruitful pedagogical career there.

Strongin Katz was on the faculty at NEC for 23 years. She also served for 25 years at the Eastman School of Music, 5 years at Rice University, 3 years at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and 3 years at the University of Toledo — where she was a member of the Toledo String Quartet.

Strongin Katz studied violin with Raphael Bronstein and Ivan Galamian, and viola with Lillian Fuchs and William Primrose, at the Curtis Institute, the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the University of Southern California.

In 1969 she was a founding member of the Cleveland Quartet alongside Donald Weilerstein, Peter Salaff, and her then-husband Mark Katz. She performed with the group to international acclaim until 1980, giving more than 1,000 concerts in notable concert halls all over the world.

Strongin Katz also made a number of notable solo appearances, including a Carnegie Hall performance of Berlioz’s Harold in Italy with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, the Bartók concerto with L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, recital and concerto performances at the 1989 International Viola Congress, and many others.

"Those who were able to have studied with her understand how fortunate they were," wrote David Leikin, Strongin Katz's husband. "If you were lucky enough to hear her play or play with her, either in recital or chamber music, you listened to/played alongside, debatably, the finest violist to play the instrument. I was privileged to bask in her glory."

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