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Walter Prystawski's early violin studies were with Eli Spivak in Toronto. In 1953 he graduated with an Artist Diploma from the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. He has been a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the CBC Symphony.
In 1959 he moved to Lucerne, Switzerland to attend masterclasses with Austrian violinist Wolfgang Schneiderhan. He was first a member, then concertmaster of the chamber orchestra Lucerne Festival Strings. As soloist with and member of this ensemble, Mr. Prystawski toured widely in Western Europe, South Africa and the Middle East. He also recorded extensively as orchestra member and as a soloist for Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. From 1967-69 he was First Concertmaster of the Basler Orchester Gesellschaft in Basle, Switzerland.
In 1969 he returned to Canada as founding concertmaster of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. He continues in this post and appears regularly as soloist with the Orchestra, and as recitalist and chamber music player. He is also a member of the teaching staff of the Department of Music, University of Ottawa.
In 2000, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada, and in 2001 received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Ottawa.
Mr. Prystawski shares his life with his wife of over 40 years, Victoria, and their Irish Setter Callie. They have two grown children in Toronto, Linda, an actor, and Laurence, a lawyer.
Visit the NAC Orchestra and Friends String Interviews page to watch and listen to Walter talk about and play the violin!