Constance Koebelin Starr
Passed away peacefully at home with her family on August 26, 2019.
Born April 5, 1925 to Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Koebelin in Deerfield, Illinois. As a small child Constance was drawn to the piano. While still a young student, her mastery of difficult works by Chopin and Liszt caused contest judges to predict a great career.
In her teens, while attending the Interlochen Arts Camp she garnered the attention of Howard Hanson, director of the Eastman School of Music, who immediately offered her a full scholarship to the school in piano and viola.
She graduated in 1947, and in June of that year, married William Starr, a violin student she met during her time at Eastman. They were to play hundreds of concerts together all over the world during their 72 years of marriage.
After Bill took a university faculty position at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Connie contributed to the area’s musical life, appearing as piano soloist with the Knoxville Symphony, and playing viola in the symphony and the University String Quartet.
In 1968, Connie moved to Matsumoto, Japan with William and their eight children. While her husband was observing Shinichi Suzuki’s well-known work with young violinists, Connie convinced the famed educator to publish a collection of music books for piano, eventually introducing Suzuki’s Piano Method to thousands of piano teachers around the world.
Upon the Starr’s return to the U.S. after a year in Japan, Connie continued her involvement with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, serving on the board, giving workshops, lectures, and demonstrations throughout the U.S. and at international conferences.
Connie wrote a number of books, including a 1971 textbook Practical Piano Skills for general music students that remains on the market 46 years later, almost unheard of longevity for a college textbook. In 1981, she published a set of three books, The Music Road, introducing music reading to young pianists, and in 1983 co-wrote with her husband To Learn with Love, a companion book for Suzuki parents.
After moving with the family to Boulder in 1982, she retired from teaching young students and focused on teaching piano teachers – something she continued until very recently.
She is predeceased by one child, Suzanne. She is survived by her husband, William, and eight children: Kathleen, Teresa, Gregory, Timothy, Judith, William Jr., Michael, and David; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Heartfelt thanks to the team at Trail Winds Hospice for their loving support of Connie and the family.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to St. Labre Indian School at www.stlabre.org.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday September 3 at 11:00am at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 898 14th St, Boulder.
Condolences to the family may be made on this page (https://www.thenaturalfuneral.com/constance-starr).