Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor
This performance by cellist George Neikrug of the Dvorák Concerto in B minor was recorded February 20, 1967 with James W. Sample (Conductor) and the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra, Erie, PA. Mr. Neikrug was also a professor at Oberlin in 1967. The Dvorák concerto is his favorite to perform in public and this is the only known recording by Mr. Neikrug. George Neikrug also performed the Dvorák Cello Concerto with the Prague Symphony with Václav Neumann (Conductor) and four times with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra with Wolfgang Sawallisch (Conductor 1960-1970). Wolfgang Sawallisch recently retired as the Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. James W. Sample, succeeded Fritz Mahler as conductor of the Erie Philharmonic in 1953, (which he conducted from 1953-1967). He was also the conductor of many orchestras over the years including the Ft. Wayne Symphony Orchestra and the Portland Symphony Orchestra; also the WPA Federal Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles in the 30's and 40's as well as orchestras in Europe. He was an Associate Conductor with Pierre Monteux. This performance by cellist George Neikrug of the Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 1 was recorded February 22nd, 1981 in Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, with Joseph Silverstein (Conductor) and the Boston University Symphony Orchestra. Joseph Silverstein is the conductor laureate of the Utah Symphony; former conducting duties with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Denver Symphony. Joseph Silverstein, also the former Boston Symphony Orchestra principal violinist (concertmaster) is widely regarded as one of Boston's most influential musical citizens. During his tenure in Boston, Silverstein conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra on more than 100 occasions. Mr. Neikrug, a consummate cello virtuoso, is considered by many of his colleagues to be the greatest living string pedagogue. Born in New York, George Neikrug was a pupil of the legendary Emanuel Feuermann and is probably the only remaining student who is still concertizing. In 1943, he met the well-known pedagogue D.C. Dounis, whose revolutionary approach to the problems of string playing and teaching influenced him to completely revamp his playing and create the unique style he has retained to this day. This association lasted for a period of fifteen years, and Neikrug felt such a debt to Dounis for all the knowledge and skills he had learned that he resolved to devote his life to teaching at schools, such as Boston University, and giving master classes all over the world. Since Neikrug's New York debut in 1947, he has held principal positions with the Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras. He was also principal cellist of the Paramount Pictures Recording Orchestra and the Columbia Recording Orchestra, which recorded the historic series of performances by Igor Stravinsky and Bruno Walter, who called Neikrug a 'genuine musician and a real virtuoso of the cello.' In 1960, Leopold Stokowski asked Neikrug to perform Bloch's Schelomo with him and the NBC Symphony at Carnegie Hall, with a recording for United Artists to follow. After this performance, Stokowski sent him an autographed photo with the inscription 'for George Neikrug's Schelomo -- unforgettable.' In 1979, Neikrug performed all six Bach solo suites in one concert at Lincoln Center. In an enthusiastic review of this concert, John Rockwell of The New York Times concluded, 'there was a beauty that was almost painful. We wish Mr. Neikrug would play all the violin suites for us.' Mr. Neikrug has appeared as a soloist with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Bruno Walter, Leopold Stokowski and Yehudi Menuhin, who stated, 'I was most impressed with his profound and accurate understanding of his instrument, as well as string playing in general. He is a first-rate musician, and I cannot recommend him too highly.' His recording of Bloch's 'Schelomo' with Leopold Stokowski and the Symphony of the Air was recently re-released on the EMI label. In addition, Sony has recently released his recording of a duet by Mozart for cello, baritone and orchestra with George London, baritone, and the Columbia Symphony, conducted by Bruno Walter. In 1962, Mr. Neikrug accepted a teaching position at the Hochschüle in Frankfurt, Germany, as a Fulbright Professor sponsored by Ernst Toch and Bruno Walter. He has held teaching positions at the Detmold Hochschule in Germany, Oberlin College, and the University of Texas at Austin before joining the faculty at Boston University School for the Arts in 1971. He was selected to receive the 1995 'Artist Teacher Award' from the American String Teachers Association. In 1996, he was invited by Janos Starker and the University of Indiana to receive the 'Chevalier du Violoncelle' award for outstanding lifetime achievement on the cello. Many of his students are in major symphony orchestras all over the world, including some in principal positions and teaching at major universities.