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Bio of George Sopkin



Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival

Adult Chamber Music Institute

Director, George Sopkin, cello

George Sopkin was a pupil of Emmanuel Feuermann in Europe and New York. Although he began his career as one of the youngest members of the Chicago Symphony he has devoted most of his life to Chamber Music. He left the symphony to join the Pro Arte Quartet and after World War II became a founding member of the Fine Arts Quartet. Later the Quartet became Artists-in-Residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Northwestern University.

In 1964 they were appointed Professors of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where they combined a heavy teaching schedule with extensive tours: annually in Europe, State Department tours of the Far East, numerous festivals (Tanglewood, Edinburgh, Ravinia) and, of course just about everywhere in the United States. In 1967 their Far Eastern tour included three weeks in Japan where they gave concerts and master classes in many cities: Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and others.

They have recorded for Vox, Everest, Concertapes, Decca and Columbia most of the major works for string quartet including the complete Beethoven and Bartok String Quartets, the Mozart King of Prussia Quartets, all the Mozart String Quintets, more than forty Hydn Quartets and works by many of their contemporaries including commissions from Milton Babbitt, Seymour Shifrin and Karel Husa, whose work won the Pulitzer Prize. Mr. Sopkin has recorded solo repertoire by Ernst Bloch and John Downey, and solo works written for him by Werner Torkanowsky.

In 1979 Mr. Sopkin resigned from the Fine Arts Quartet and the University (where he holds the title of distinguished Professor Emeritus) in order to move to Maine and explore another chamber music repertoire. The New England Piano Quartette is the fulfillment of this desire.

In January 1985 Mr. Sopkin was appointed Visiting Artist at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh to teach cello and chamber music and to perform with the Carnegie-Mellon Trio. 1984 to 1992 also saw a series of master classes at Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Interlochen School of the Arts, Carnegie-Mellon University, England (Pro Corda), Italy, Corfu, and the Banff Festival of the Artes, and Portland, Maine, as well as recitals and four performances of the Hindemith Cello Concerto.

In 1997 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 1998 he received the Chevalier Du Violincelle award from the University of Indiana. He currently is Director of Admissions as well as the Director of the Adult Chamber Music Institute at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Blue Hill, Maine. He now makes his home in Surry, Maine.



George Sopkin