Violinist Stasz Klinge-Loy, whose dazzling duet with his sister won the 2011 Morristown’s Got Talent contest, was killed by a train in Morris Plains on Monday in an apparent suicide.
NJ Transit identified the “male trespasser” as Stanislav Klinge-Loy, 21, of Morristown. He was struck by a westbound commuter train at 11:12 a.m.
Sources familiar with the investigation said the incident occurred on an elevated stretch of track that required climbing to access. Stasz did not budge when the train engineer tried to warn him by sounding the horn, according to NJ Transit.
Organizers of the talent show were stunned.
“This kid had everything in his life going for him,” said Fran Rossoff, one of the event’s founders.
“I feel absolutely horrible. He was amazingly talented,” said Debbie Sontupe, chairwoman of the Morris Educational Foundation, which hosts the annual benefit show. Auditions for February’s competition were held on Saturday.
The Morris Educational Foundation issued this statement:
“We are saddened to hear about this tragic loss. Stasz was an extremely talented musician and wonderful person. We were honored to have him as part of the Morris Educational Foundation’s family and as a winner of our Fourth Annual Morristown’s Got Talent show. He inspired many of our other performers and all of us with his beautiful performance and warm spirit. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family at this very difficult time.”
Stasz and his sister Junia, a pianist, shared the $1,000 first prize for their performance of Vittorio Monti’s Czardas before more than 1,200 people at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Feb. 23, 2011. Stasz’s fiery playing elicited cheers from the audience during quiet moments in the piece.
Asked how he intended to spend his half of the award, Stasz grinned and said: “I’m going to travel the world on $1 a day.”
“I remember his poise and humble confidence at the Morristown’s Got Talent competition,” said singer Blaire Reinhard, one of the judges that night. “His musical talent went far beyond his impressive technical proficiency. He captivated the audience with his amazing depth of emotion. We were all floored by the inspiring performance he and his sister shared with us that evening.”
Mentors of the Juilliard-trained violinist described a friendly, outgoing young man with great musical promise, who had put his studies on hold shortly before he won Morristown’s Got Talent.
“He was doing very well. He was a talented boy,” said Aaron Rosand, a renowned violinist who taught Stasz at the Mannes School of Music in New York.
About a year and a half ago, Stasz took a leave of absence from his studies.
“He did very well in his last concerts. It was a big surprise that he would take a year off to devote himself to family and church,” said his instructor, who remembered Stasz as a jovial, happy young man. The only exception came when Stasz missed a lesson, to help a friend through a personal crisis, recalled Aaron’s assistant, violinist Christina Khimm.
“He was very, very disturbed” about his friend’s plight, Christina said of Stasz.
Stasz also taught young students at the now-defunct Eastern Conservatory of Music, leaving the Bedminster school in 2010.
“He was a very talented person…He had great promise as a performer, and he also had great promise as a teacher,” said Casey Bork, who was director of the conservatory. Blessed with a “terrific personality,” Stasz displayed great concern for his pupils, who started as young as 6 years old, Casey said. The teacher left because too many other musical opportunities were vying for his time, according to Casey.
Stasz’s family is from Puerto Rico, and he was born in Madrid. They came to Morristown when he was around four years old. His baby sister was born a year later. Both were home-schooled.
According to a biography on the internet, Stasz graduated with honors from the Juilliard School Pre-College Division, and landed a scholarship to the Mannes School of Music.
He gave a solo performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Caracas Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela, and played in summer programs and festivals at Ithaca College; the Young Conductors Program with the National Symphony Orchestra in Santiago, Chile; the Summit Festival in Purchase, New York; and the InterHarmony International Music Festivals in Germany and San Francisco.
“What he already accomplished was quite remarkable for his age,” Casey Bork said.
Stasz and Junia appeared to enjoy a playful sibling-give-and-take.
When Junia suggested calling their act “The Dynamic Duo,” Stasz set the record straight. “More like “The Un-dynamic Duo,” he said with a laugh. His biggest fear about the talent show: “I don’t know what they’re going to feed us!”
After their triumph, Stasz tweaked his kid sister for her “short temper.”
When asked to reveal a hidden side of Stasz, Junia smiled sweetly.
“He is the best brother in the world,” she said.