George Sopkin receives honorary degree
from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee 1998
George Sopkin, distinguished professor emeritus of music and, with violinist Leonard Sorkin, a founding member of the Fine Arts Quartet, received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree at UWM's December commencement ceremonies. Sopkin, now a cellist with the New England Quartette, which he founded in 1980, was appointed artist in residence and professor of music at UWM in 1963 and retired in 1979.
During his years at UWM, the Fine Arts Quartet recorded most of the major works for string quartet and toured extensively in the United States, Europe, and the Far East.
Sopkin began his career as one of the youngest members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and went on to become associate professor of music and artist in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he joined the Pro Arte Quartet as cellist.
From 1985 to 1990, Sopkin was professor of music at the Carnegie Mellon Institute and performed with the Carnegie Mellon Trio. He continues to play with the New England Quartette and to give master classes in the United States and abroad.
Sopkin was nominated for the honorary degree by John Downey, distinguished professor of music at UWM and internationally renowned composer.
"George was a wonderful cello teacher and one of the real pillars on our faculty," Downey says. "He and Leonard Sorkin attracted excellent students from all over the world to come to UWM.
"The Fine Arts Quartet has brought great distinction to UWM, and it is still enjoying great prestige and worldwide acclaim because of the many recordings they made.
"George Sopkin is clearly deserving of an honorary degree, and it also is an honor for the university to bestow it."
(No link to article is now on Internet that I could find jgfox 2014)