Kurt Sassmannshaus

Kurt Sassmannshaus


Professor of Violin; the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Classical Violin

Memorial Hall


CCM Violin - 0003

Professional Summary

Kurt Sassmannshaus, violinist, teacher, and conductor, is considered one of today's preeminent violin pedagogues.He is CCM's distinguished Dorothy Richard Starling Chair for Classical Violin, a position previously held by the late Dorothy Delay. Sassmannshaus has taught around the world, including master classes in Europe, the United States, Japan, China, and Australia, and has worked in close association with Dorothy DeLay both in Cincinnati and at the Aspen Music Festival and School. 

His students include prizewinners of major international competitions, prominent soloists and chamber musicians, and orchestra leaders in ensembles such as the London Philharmonic, Capetown, North German State Radio, Frankfurt Radio, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland orchestras. His former students also hold faculty positions in European and American conservatories and universities including Lübeck, Berlin's Eisler School and Freie Universität, Beijing's Central Conservatory and China Conservatory, the Peabody Conservatory, and many others.

After receiving his bachelor's degree from Cologne, where he studied with Igor Ozim, Sassmannshaus received a Master's degree from the Juilliard School as a scholarship student of Dorothy DeLay, and won first prize in the International Chamber Music Competition in Colmar, France. He taught at the University of Texas, Austin and at Sarah Lawrence College before joining CCM full time in 1983.

In addition to teaching conservatory students, Sassmannshaus is renowned for his method of training younger players with extraordinary talent. In 1987, he founded the Starling Preparatory String Project as an integrated pre-collegiate program for string players with prodigious ability. This program has earned a worldwide reputation for its unsurpassed offering of performance opportunities for young soloists, especially in the Starling Chamber Orchestra, which he conducts.

In addition to a subscription concert series and concerto showcases in Cincinnati, the Starling Chamber Orchestra regularly records, commissions new works and tours internationally. They have appeared throughout Europe, Korea, China and at New York's Lincoln Center and have received rave reviews for their recordings and live performances. The orchestra was  featured on the syndicated Public Radio International show From the Top, and has been the subject of feature articles in The New York Times and Washington Post.

In 1996, Sassmannshaus expanded the Starling programs and founded "The SassmannshausTradition",  a broad based community violin program at CCM and several local schools. The program uses the method written by his father Egon Sassmannshaus, translated and expanded by Kurt Sassmannshaus, which has become Europe' bestselling method for beginning string players on violin, viola, cello and double bass. This beginning violin program also functions as a teacher training program for college students. In 2004 he published the pedagogy website violinmasterclass.com, a groundbreaking comprehensive website which demonstrates his innovative teaching methods. The site has helps millions of young students every year to improve their skills and musicianship. 

From 2005 to 2016 Prof. Sassmannshaus founded and organized the Great Wall International Music Academy, a summer festival for talented string players in Beijing. This Festival has brought many talented students to CCM who have since been appointed to important position in orchestras and conservatories worldwide. 

Prof. S. spends his summers at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. 


BM: Cologne University of Music Cologne, Germany, 1977 (Violin)

MM: The Juilliard School New York, NY, 1979 (Violin)