Obituary: Toby Saks, cellist and Seattle Chamber Music Society founder, 71

Posted on: August 2, 2013

“Toby Saks, founder of the Seattle Chamber Music Society and an acclaimed cellist, died early on Thursday (Aug. 1)—sending waves of shock and grief around the world as music lovers got the news,” writes Melinda Bargreen in Thursday’s (8/1) Seattle Times. “She was 71 when she lost a short battle with fast-moving pancreatic cancer…. A New Yorker who began on the piano and switched to the cello at age 9, she became a student of the great cellist Leonard Rose at Juilliard. She rose quickly to prominence at the Pablo Casals Competition and the Tchaikovsky Competition and toured as a soloist, but she disliked traveling. She married and had two children (Claire and Mischa Berlinski), and won a coveted spot in the New York Philharmonic as the third woman member of that orchestra (1971-76). … Six years after her arrival in Seattle [in 1976], Ms. Saks and some fellow music lovers founded the Seattle Chamber Music Society, a small-scale enterprise that blossomed into an annual summer/winter festival. She served as artistic director for 30 years…. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 4) at Evergreen Washelli at Abbey View Memorial Park, 3601 Alaska Road, Brier. A memorial service will be announced later.”

Posted August 2, 2013