Cellist and chamber musician George Sopkin will present a master class for string musicians on Monday, Dec. 1, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Hope College in Snow Auditorium of Nykerk Hall of Music.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
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.
The members of 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 throughout the United States. The quartet's 1967 Far Eastern tour included three weeks in Japan, with concerts and master classes in Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and other cities.
The quartet has 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 of the Mozart string quintets and more than 40 Haydn string quartets, and works by many of their contemporaries, including commissions from Milton Babbitt, Seymour Shifrin and Karel Husa, whose work won the Pulitzer Prize. Sopkin has recorded solo repertoire by Ernest Bloch and John Downey, and solo works written for him by Werner Torkanowsky.
In 1979, Sopkin resigned from the Fine Arts Quartet and the University of Wisconsin, where he holds the title of Distinguished Professor Emeritus, in order to move to Maine and explore another chamber music repertoire with the New England Piano Quartette.
In January of 1985, he was appointed visiting artist at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh to teach cello and chamber music and to perform with the Carnegie-Mellon Trio. The years 1984 to 1992 also saw a series of master classes at Albuquerque, N.M., the Interlochen School of the Arts, Carnegie-Mellon University, England (Pro Corda), Italy, Corfu, the Banff Festival of the Arts 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 is currently director of admissions at the Kneisel Hall chamber music festival and also with the adult chamber music program. He makes his home in Surry, Maine.
Nykerk Hall of Music is located in the middle of the Hope campus, along the former 12th Street between College and Columbia avenues.