|Born||June 22, 1911|
|Died||October 25, 2007|
|Primrose Quartet, NBC Symphony Orchestra|
Harvey Shapiro, of Russian parentage, was born in New York City. His first cello teacher was Willem Willeke (1880-1950), who was both a medical doctor and a well-known cellist of the early 20th century. Willeke was the principal cello teacher at the Institute of Musical Art, which merged with Juilliard in 1926. Shapiro also studied with Diran Alexanian, who was both a pupil and partner in teaching with Pablo Casals. Shapiro was a winner of the highly regarded Loeb and Naumburg Prizes. In 1937 he joined the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, and from 1944 to 1946 he served as principal cellist.
In 1938 or 1939, at the invitation of NBC, he, Oscar Shumsky, Josef Gingold and William Primrose founded what came to be called the Primrose String Quartet, considered to be one of the finest quartets of its time. He and the Primrose Quartet along with Emanuel Feuermann, another famous cellist, gave historic performances of the Schubert Quintet.
In 1970, on recommendation of Leonard Rose, he became professor of cello at the Juilliard School in New York, a position he held for more than thirty years. Many of his students have gone on to become famous cellists in their own right. In 1991 he was nominated as "Best Teacher of the Year" at Juilliard, and he was awarded the Schatzer Award.
He remained an active teacher into his 90s. In March 1998 he gave a very well received recital at the Prince Regent Theatre in Munich, Germany. He continued to give master classes in Europe, notably in Salzburg, Vienna, Engelberg and Florence until 2006.
Shapiro was married to violinist Rena Robbins from 1947 until her death in 1980.
Shapiro died in New York on October 25, 2007.
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