In 1920, Julius Stulberg was brought to Montreal when his parents emigrated from Kieselien, Poland. The family eventually settled in Marshall, Michigan, where the young boy’s love of music was to be realized. He received degrees from and taught at Michigan State University, where he also met his future wife. He and Esther Leiberman of Benton Harbor were married in 1941. The Stulberg bond with Kalamazoo was forged in 1943 when he accepted the post of conductor of the newly established Junior Symphony.
In 1945, the growing Stulberg family made Kalamazoo home when Mr. Stulberg joined the faculty of Western Michigan University. At the time of his death, Julius Stulberg had been Professor of Violin at Western Michigan University and Conductor of the University Symphony for twenty eight years. He had also been conducting the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra for thirty one years. Throughout his life, his wife Esther Stulberg was his support and helpmate. Following Julius’ untimely death at the age of 61 in 1974, Mrs. Stulberg was the driving force behind the establishment of the competition which memorializes his life’s passions. Following her death in February of 2001, a dedicated Board of Directors, corps of volunteers and the Stulberg family assumed the mantle of responsibility for the Stulberg String Competition. In the tradition of its namesake, Julius Stulberg, the competition continues to offer career boosting opportunities to young musicians.
Julius Stulberg believed in the power of music, especially in the lives of young musicians, and he acted upon that belief. Julius himself was given his start by money from his local Rotary Club which sent him to Interlochen to study for two years when his parents could not afford to send him.
Julius’ brother Morris would say that Julius was so hard working and engaged in his work that his wife had to remind him to eat. Many children and young adults received his musical advice and instruction as well as personal encouragement. He was a much loved man. Ed Gasaway, of Gasaway and Associates, Inc. and Paul Davidoff, Attorney At Law, two members of the Junior Symphony during Julius’ tenure, still speak of their experience under Julius’ baton with great love and respect.
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Stulberg lifetime Board member Morris Stulberg passed away on June 10, 2012 at the age of 90.
He will be remembered for his life of committment to the arts and for his support of the
Julius and Esther Stulberg Competition, named for his late brother and sister-in-law.
His obituary can be found here.