Born: January 12, 1916 - Chicago, Ilinois, USA
Died: June 7, 1985 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
The American violinistm, Leonard Sorkin, received violin training from Mischa Mischakoff.
At the age of 18, Leonard Sorkin joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he remained until 1943. He served as concert-master of the American Broadcasting Co. Symphony (ABC Symphony) from 1946 to 1954. In 1946, he and George Sopkin, principal cellist with the ABC Symphony, founded the Fine Arts Quartet, in which he played first violin until 1982. He was an internationally recognized classical violinist, and frequently appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony and others symphonies.,
"Leonard Sorkin, one of the most daring young violinists in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,"` reported a contemporary account in The Tribune, In 1941, he was involved in a delightful musical confrontation with drummer Gene Krupa. "invaded the Panther Room at the Hotel Sherman single-handed and matched his prowess against that of Gene Krupa, the ace among drummers, and his cohorts of saxophone and brass."` Sorkin more than held his own, the article said.
In 1963, Leonard Sorkin, became Professor of violin and artist in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UMW), positions he held until his death. After resigning as first violinist of the Fine Arts Quartet in 1982, he was appointed in 1983 director of the newly created UWM Institute of Chamber Music and conductor of the Chamber Orchestra. He maintained an active career as soloist, chamber musician and sonata recitalist. He performed with a Josef Guarnerius del Jesu violin made in Cremona, Italy, in 1731.
Leonard Sorkin was married to Aviva Dolnick Sorkin (died March 16, 2009), who danced for many years with the Sybil Shearer Dance Company. He died in 1985 of cancer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is survived by his wife, Aviva; a son, Rafael (Syracuse, New York); and a daughter, Naomi (London, England). He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the father of the theoretical physicist Rafael Sorkin.
Awards: New York Times Chamber Music Record of the Year; Wisconsin Governor's Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Performing Arts; Artist-Teacher of the Year, American String Teachers Association.