Walter Prystawski, founding concertmaster of the National Arts Centre orchestra, has contributed more to this national institution than meets the ear.
He began his career more than 50 years ago with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the CBC Symphony. He then left for Switzerland to study with the renowned Austrian violinist Wolfgang Schneiderhan. He spent the 60s with the chamber orchestra Lucerne Festival Strings, eventually as first violin, and toured Europe, South Africa and the Middle East. During that time, he recorded his works with Deutsche Grammophon and offered courses in Lucerne.
The unprecedented opportunity to start a new orchestra lured him back to Canada in 1969. Since then, he has extended his instruction to the University of Ottawa's Department of Music, where he continues to make moments memorable for promising music students. As well, he judges competitions and continues to perform as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Last year, the Governor General made Prystawski a member of the Order of Canada.