William Lincer's Biography

Over the course of nine decades, William Lincer earned for himself an honored place among the world's finest violists. His celebrated career was molded on his premise that "music can be thought of as a history of human emotions. Without the need for words, or theories, or philosophies, music communicates in a non-verbal and emotional way directly from the performer to listener. It is this emotion that gives music its fundamental power." Lincer spent a lifetime communicating that power to audiences as a performer and to gifted students as a teacher.

William Lincer was born in Brooklyn on April 6, 1907. At age five, he began his violin studies and two years later he gave his first recital in Aeolian Hall. He continued his studies at the Institute of Musical Art, where his teachers included Leopold Lichtenberg, Samuel Gardner, and Erica Morini. Upon graduation, he formed the Lincer Quartet, pursed post-graduate courses at Harvard University, and gave numerous lectures on music appreciation throughout the country. (Photo: Lincer at the train station.)

For seven years, as violist with the Jacques Gordon String Quartet, he toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada, and performed frequently at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In 1938, on the occasion of this ensemble's premiere of a string quartet by Frank Bridge, he was awarded the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal for Chamber Music.

In 1942, Lincer accepted the principal violist position with the Cleveland Orchestra. A year later, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra appointed him principal violist to succeed Zoltan Kurthy. Lincer retained this position until his retirement at the end of the 1972 season.

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