Eudice Shapiro

Eudice Shapiro - pioneer and groundbreaker.

Eudice Shapiro And Irene Jacobi Play Music Of Werner Josten – 1941 – Past Daily Weekend Gramophone

Eudice Shapiro
Eudice Shapiro – pioneer and groundbreaker.

Eudice Shapiro, violin – Irene Jacobi, Piano – Sonatina by Werner Josten – American Strings – February 13, 1941 – Mutual – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Mid-Century American Chamber music this week, featuring the legendary violinist Eudice Shapiro along with Irene Jacobi as part of the American Strings series over Mutual from February 13, 1941.

This second program of the series features music of Werner Josten, a composer who was also on the faculty at Smith College in Massachusetts. His Sonatina for Violin and Piano, a work in three movements.

Eric Werner Josten was born on June 12, 1885 in Elberfeld, Germany. Son of Wilhelm F. and Selma (Bergmann) Josten. He studied in Munich with Rudolf Siegel and in Geneva with Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, and emigrated to the United States in 1920 or 1921.

Werner Josten became a naturalized citizen and taught at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts from 1923 to 1949, where his notable students included Audrey Kooper Hammann. The Werner Josten Performing Arts Library at Smith College is named for him. He is best known for his symphonic poem Jungle (1928), which is inspired by African music

He also directed the first staged performance of Orfeo in the United States, on May 11, 1929.

Eudice Shapiro created her own legacy on the violin. Born in 1914, she began studying violin with her father when she was five, winning her first prize at 10 and beginning her solo career with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at age 12. She would go on to study at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., under Gustave Tinlot and the Curtis Institute with Efrem Zimbalist.

Eudice Shapiro moved to Los Angeles in 1941 when it was particularly difficult for a woman musician to find work.

“Eudice Shapiro was a pioneer in many ways and set a new path that one could follow. She exemplified elegance within the strongest of the characters and her presence and art opened doors in countless ways,” said her colleague Midori Goto, the chair of the USC Thornton’s strings department.

After settling in Los Angeles, Eudice Shapiro began working for the Hollywood studio system, playing for Paramount, United Artists and RKO. She remained in the system for 23 years, becoming the first female concertmaster in a studio orchestra at RKO, an appointment that led to new opportunities for other female musicians. In addition to performing with studio orchestras, Shapiro also played with the American Art Quartet, which included Robert Sushel, Virginia Majewski and Shapiro’s first husband, Victor Gottlieb, who passed away in 1963.

Since 1956 when she joined the faculty at USC, Shapiro was overseeing students who would later move on to play in many prominent orchestras and serve on college faculties. In addition, she got to teach alongside other great musicians, including Ingolf Dahl, Gregor Piatigorsky, William Primrose and Jascha Heifetz.

While Eudice Shapiro earned praise for her studio work, she was also known for a commitment to modern composers, introducing their music to her students. She earlier said in an interview, “I was always interested in American music and in people that I knew who were composers.” She said her interest in modern music stemmed from the fact that many students had not been previously exposed to it.

Irene Jacobi, the former Irene Schwarcz, was the widow of the composer Frederick Jacobi, whose music she had frequently performed.

She attended the Institute of Musical Art, which later became the Juilliard School, and married Mr. Jacobi in 1917, when he was an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Jacobi died in 1952.

Irene Jacobi performed her husband’s works with orchestras and string quartets in the United States and Europe and recorded on the RCA, SPA and CRI labels. In 1972, she organized a Carnegie Hall concert of Mr. Jacobi’s music. She was active with the New York Committee for Young Audiences and was a fellow of the Morgan Library.


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