David Sarser



Competition Winner

Born: January 31, 1921 (Kansas City, MO)

Died: June 6, 2013 (Northport, NY)

Violinist David Sarser was an American musician, audio engineer and electronics designer. He was a winner of the 1942 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation competition.

In the 1950s, Saser played violin in the NBC Orchestra conducted by Arturo Toscanini. His instrument was a 1735 Stradivarius named the "Lamoreux-Zimbalist" violin. In 1962, the violin was stolen and with its theft he stopped playing forever. The violin went missing leading the FBI on a chase that went from New Jersey to Japan to a dark-web user in Norway.

Sarser was advised that his violin was spirited off to Japan, but he was never able to determine its whereabouts. He stated of his violin, ‘I have no desire to play any other instrument. It became part of me, and I became part of it.’

He later worked with Les Paul in the design of the first 8 track recording deck (built for Mr. Paul by Ampex for his home studio). With Melvin Sprinkle, he co-authored the article in Audio Engineering magazine on the Williamson Amplifier which introduced that circuit to American audiophiles and engineers.

Excerpt from The New York Times review, October 20, 1942

David Sarser Heard in a Violin Recital

Winner of the Naumburg Award Plays Bach Sonata Excerpts

"David Sarser, 21-year-old violinist of Kansas City, MO, who received deferment from his local draft board to make the appearance...proved a credit to his sponsors. As well as having a secure technique, he also has the musicality and the temperament that listeners have come to expect from winners of the foundation's awards...the adagio and fuga from Bach's unaccompanied sonata in G minor, played the splendid music with breadth of style, rich tone and vigor that brought this work to life" R.P.


1942 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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