Cellist Eleonore Schoenfeld Dies at 81

Classic Arts News   Cellist Eleonore Schoenfeld Dies at 81
Cellist Eleonore Schoenfeld, who played in the Schoenfeld Duo with her older sister Alice, died of a heart attack on January 1 at age 81.

The death was announced by the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, where Eleonore was teaching and serving as head of the string department at the time of her death.

Alice, a violinist, remains on the faculty; the two had been professors there for nearly 50 years. They shared a home in La Caê±ada Flintridge, California.

Eleonore Schoenfeld was born in Maribor, Slovenia to a Russian mother and Polish father. She studied ballet before switching to the cello at age 11; Alice had already begun studying violin. Eleonore earned her artist diploma at the Hochschule f‹r Musik in Berlin, where she studied with Karl Niedermeyer and Adolph Steiner. The two sisters performed in Europe as child prodigies before moving to Los Angeles in 1952.

Eleonore performed on four continents as a soloist with leading symphony and radio orchestras, in recitals and with her sister.

In addition to her full-time teaching at USC, Eleonore was also master teacher at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles and was on the faculty of the Arts Academy in Idyllwild, California.

Since 1979, she directed the annual International Gregor Piatigorsky Seminar for Cellists; she worked closely with the famed cellist Piatigorsky during his tenure at USC from 1962 until his death in 1976.

Eleonore frequently gave master classes and seminars at Indiana University's Scool of Music, the Curtis Institute, the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Royal Conservatory and at many other prominent conservatories. She also regularly served as chairperson for national and international competition juries.

The Los Angeles Times quotes Thornton School faculty member Ron Leonard as saying that [Eleonore] Schoenfeld "was the quintessential teacher, absolutely devoted to her students and to USC. She and her sister, Alice, were institutions within an institution. It is hard to imagine the USC Thornton School being without her."

Violinist Midori, who also teaches at the Thornton School, told the paper, "Schoenfeld and her sister built the international reputation of the Thornton School. I respected her for her honesty, integrity and years of experience and expertise, and I consulted with her several times on my own teaching. She found ample time for everyone. She did everything with such dedication and detail."

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