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George Neikrug

Obituary for George Neikrug

March 7, 1919 - March 8, 2019
Concord, Massachusetts | Age 100

Renowned and Accomplished Cellist

Obituary

George Neikrug age 100 and world renowned cellist passed away on Friday, March 8, 2019 at his Concord residence. He was the husband of Virginia G. (Gotham) Neikrug.

Born in New York, on March 7, 1919 he was the son of the late Lazar and Ida Neikrug. 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 Sawwilisch, 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 Hoshschule 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.

Along with his wife Virginia he is survived his son Barry Neikrug as well as numerous colleagues and students.

Services were private.

Private Services were held.


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Concord Funeral Home

Director - Glenn D. Burlamachi, CFSP
74 Belknap St.
Concord, MA 01742
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