Composer, pianist and teacher Robert Starer was born in Vienna on 8 January 1924. He began to learn piano at the age of four. When Austria voted in 1938 to be annexed by Nazi Germany, he continued his studies in Palestine, served in the British Air Force and then settled in the USA in 1947.
Starer, respected for his instrumental and orchestral music, chamber operas, ballets and songs, wrote in a chromatic dissonant-sounding style, with traces of Arabic and Jewish music. He also wrote two popular textbooks on rhythm.
Working right until the end of his life, his last work, Evening, a setting of Alan Lannom for soprano, was finished just a few days before his death on 22 April 2001, in Kingston NY, USA, aged seventy-seven.