Harvey Shapiro (musician)
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Harvey Shapiro Musician
Harvey Shapiro
BornJune 22, 1911
DiedOctober 25, 2007
Cellist, pedagogue
Primrose Quartet, NBC Symphony Orchestra

Harvey Shapiro (June 22, 1911 – October 25, 2007) was a New York-born American cellist.


Childhood and early career

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.

From 1947 to 1963 Shapiro performed with the WQXR Radio Quartet. He recorded as soloist with Victor Records, Columbia Records, US Decca Records and Nonesuch Records.

Later life and career

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.

Personal life

Shapiro was married to violinist Rena Robbins from 1947 until her death in 1980.

Shapiro died in New York on October 25, 2007.


  • Harvey Shapiro Recital in Japan. DiscArt DACD-973.
  • The Art of Nathan Milstein. EMI Classics.
  • Primrose Quartet (works by Haydn, Schumann, Smetana, Brahms and Tchaikovsky). Biddulph Records.

Out of print:

  • Dmitri Shostakovich and Richard Strauss cello sonatas, Harvey Shapiro, cello and Jascha Zayde, piano. Nonesuch LP record, H-71050
  • Rachmaninoff, Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19, Kodaly, Sonata Op. 4 for Cello and Piano, Harvey Shapiro, cello and Earl Wild, piano. Nonesuch LP record H-71155
  • Luigi Boccherini, String Quintets Op. 13 No. 5 in E, Op. 20 No. 4 in F, Op. 37 No. 2 in g, the Stradivari Quartet with Harvey Shapiro, 2nd cello. Musical Heritage Society LP record, MHS 645
  • Luigi Boccherini, String Quintets Op. 37 No. 1 in C, Quintet in C, Op. 47 No. 1 in a, the Stradivari Quartet with Harvey Shapiro, 2nd cello. Musical Heritage Society LP record, MHS 694
  • Haydn, Symphony No. 95 in c (with cello solo in the trio), Fritz Reiner and "His Symphony Orchestra", Harvey Shapiro, cello. RCA LSC-2742/LM-2742. [1964]
  • Hindemith: Eight Pieces for String Quartet, Radio Artists String Quartet (Harold Glickman, Hugo Fiorato, violins, Jack Braunstein, viola, Harvey Shapiro, cello). Circle Records LP record L-51-100. [1951]


  • Rubinsky, Jane (September 2001). "Harvey Shapiro at 90". The Juilliard Journal. XVII (1). Archived from the original on 27 August 2003. Retrieved 2007.
  • "Teacher: Harvey Shapiro". Cellist database. 15 May 2004. Archived from the original on 2 July 2004.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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