Violinist, teacher and conductor Kurt Sassmannshaus is considered one of today's preeminent violin pedagogues. Chairman of the String Department at CCM since 1984, he was recently appointed to the school's distinguished Dorothy Richard Starling Chair for Classical Violin. Sassmannshaus has taught around the world, including master classes in Europe, the United States, Japan, China, and Australia. His students include prizewinners of major international competitions, prominent soloists and chamber musicians, and orchestra leaders in ensembles aroundn the world.
After receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Cologne, Sassmannshaus received a Master's degree from the Juilliard School 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. 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. The orchestra was recently 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 "Starling Kids," a broad-based community violin program at CCM and several local schools. He is the author of violinmasterclass.com, a web site that demonstrates his innovative teaching methods.