Image Source: Wikipedia

Nikolai Sokoloff

Nikolai Grigoryevich Sokoloff (28 May 1886 – 25 September 1965) was a Russian-American conductor and violinist. He was born in Kiev, and studied music at Yale. From 1916 to 1917 he was musical director of the San Francisco People's Philharmonic Orchestra, where he insisted on including women in his orchestra and paying them the same salaries as men received. Before being appointed as the first music director of The Cleveland Orchestra, Sokoloff served as a violinist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and as concertmaster in the Russian Symphony Orchestra, which at the time was based in New York. He played recitals for American troops in Europe during World War I, and later met Adella Prentiss Hughes in New York City, who encouraged him to play a recital in Cleveland in February 1918. After Hughes heard Sokoloff speaking about the need for public school children to be exposed to professional orchestras, she encouraged him to move to Cleveland. At first, his role was to survey music education within Cleveland’s public schools. Soon, however, Hughes and Sokoloff, along with John L. Severance, vice-president of the Musical Arts Association (founded by Hughes in 1915), sought to establish a permanent orchestra in Cleveland.

As a result, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra (later renamed The Cleveland Orchestra) was formed and the ensemble gave its first concert on December 11, 1918 at Cleveland’s Grays Armory. Sokoloff served as the Orchestra’s music director for another 14 years, until his departure in 1932. During his tenure in Cleveland, Sokoloff expanded both the number of musicians in the Orchestra and the number of programs in its season concert series; he also took the Orchestra on tours across the country. Additionally, Sokoloff led the Orchestra in its first recording project — a 1924 performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, on the Brunswick Label.

In the Orchestra’s second season, the ensemble moved to the Masonic Auditorium, which remained its home until the completion of Severance Hall in 1931. Under Sokoloff’s musical leadership, the city had an established orchestra of its own. Although the end of Sokoloff’s time in Cleveland was spoiled by negative press about his personality, conducting style, and lack of cordiality, he made a point to depart on a positive note. According to Donald Rosenberg, author of The Cleveland Orchestra Story, when Sokoloff was asked if he “had anything to say to Cleveland before leaving,” Sokoloff remarked, “Tell them good luck, and that I’ve had a good time."

Between 1935 and 1938 he directed the Federal Music Project, a New Deal program that employed musicians to educate the public about music. From 1938 to 1941 he directed the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and in 1941 founded the Chamber Music Society in La Jolla, California.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 28th, 1886 (Kiev), Died La Jolla

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1924 - 1928

Roles Represented in DAHR: conductor

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 58 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Brunswick X12353-X12355½ 12-in. 1/23/1924 1812 overture (Solennelle) Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick X12356-X12357 12-in. 1/23/1924 1812 overture (Solennelle) Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick 14422-14425 10-in. 12/8/1924 Traümerei Cleveland Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick 14426-14427 10-in. 12/8/1924 Berceuse Cleveland Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick E27526 10-in. 5/9/1928 Polovtsian dance Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick E27527 10-in. 5/9/1928 The school of the fauns Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch223 12-in. 10/4/1924 Träumerei Artists vary Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick ChX177-ChX181 12-in. 10/2/1924 On the beautiful blue Danube Cleveland Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick ChX182-ChX185 12-in. 10/2/1924 Finlandia Cleveland Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch193-Ch195 10-in. 10/3/1924 Wedding music Cleveland Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick ChX196-ChX200 12-in. 10/3/1924 Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald Cleveland Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch201-Ch205 10-in. 10/3/1924 Hungarian dance No. 5 (G minor) Cleveland Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch212-Ch214 12-in. 10/4/1924 Lohengrin Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch215-Ch217 10-in. 10/4/1924 Slavonic dance no. 3 Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick ChX218-ChX220 12-in. 10/4/1924 Symphony no. 2 : Allegretto Cleveland Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch221-Ch222 10-in. 10/4/1924 Valse triste Cleveland Orchestra Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch224-Ch225 10-in. 10/4/1924 Träumerei Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch226-Ch227 10-in. 10/4/1924 Valse triste Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch228-Ch229 10-in. 10/4/1924 Hungarian dance no. 5 Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch230-Ch231 10-in. 10/5/1924 Wedding music Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick Ch232-Ch234 10-in. 10/5/1924 Lohengrin Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick [C253]-[C254] 10-in. 5/1/1926 Prelude Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick [C255]-[C257] 10-in. 5/1/1926 Wedding music Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick [C258]-[C260] 10-in. 5/1/1926 Song of India Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
Brunswick [XC261]-[XC263] 12-in. 5/1/1926 Overture of 1812 Cleveland Orchestra ; Nikolai Sokoloff Orchestra conductor  
(Results 1-25 of 58 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Sokoloff, Nikolai," accessed September 24, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108686.

Sokoloff, Nikolai. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108686.

"Sokoloff, Nikolai." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 24 September 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/108686

Feedback

Send the Editors a message about this record.