Award-winning cellist Paul Olefsky dies at 87

June 9, 2013 at 2:39 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, June 9 (UPI) -- Award-winning cellist and University of Texas music teacher Paul Olefsky died in Austin after a long illness, his wife said. He was 87.

Though he hadn't performed publicly in seven years, the son of Russian immigrants had continued to teach at the university, where he held a position since 1974, until his June 1 death, wife and former student Hai Zheng-Olefsky said.

Olefsky performed worldwide and won numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious Naumburg award when he was in his early 20s, the Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday.

"When he performed on the cello, it just had an instant inspiration and attraction," Zheng-Olefsky said. "He played with impeccable musicianship and tone."

She said he was so dedicated to teaching, he often leant his personal cello to students for auditions or competitions.

The University of Texas is holding a memorial concert in honor of Olefsky Monday at the Butler School of Music, the newspaper reported.

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