Walter Trampler (1915–1997) taught at NEC from 1982 through the 1997 spring semester. Trampler was born in Munich, where he began violin studies with his father. Once in his teens, he chose to speak through the "darker, richer, more turbulent voice" of the viola. His career was distinguished by two features above all others: a performing reputation closely tied to an association with chamber music, and a lifelong advocacy of new music.
When he helped found the New Music Quartet in 1947, he demonstrated that top-of-the-line players could make a commitment to the music of their time. Twenty-two years later, he became a founding member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, where this commitment carried over into the commisioning program that is a central tenet of that group. Trampler's personal advocacy of new music included a number of commisions from Luciano Berio, and first performances of works by Babbitt, Henze, Shapey, and a host of others.