Obituary: Eleanor Sokoloff, longtime Curtis piano pedagogue, 106

Posted on: July 15, 2020

“Eleanor Sokoloff, 106, the celebrated piano professor who taught at the Curtis Institute of Music for an astonishing eight-plus decades and whose own four-hand recitals with her husband were once a Philadelphia tradition, died Sunday, July 12,” writes Peter Dobrin in Sunday’s (7/12) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Mrs. Sokoloff taught at Curtis longer than any other professor in the conservatory’s history, and more than anyone else, she was its gracious—if sharp-witted—personification…. The school … was seven years old when Mrs. Sokoloff first arrived as a student. She was still teaching at Curtis during the [most recent] school year and had planned to resume this fall, pandemic or no…. She amassed an impressive list of students, more than 75 of whom went on to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra…. Mrs. Sokoloff came to study at Curtis in 1931.” Her husband, Vladimir Sokoloff, was the Philadelphia Orchestra’s pianist from 1938 to 1950. After his death, in 1997, “Mrs. Sokoloff went out and bought an exercise machine. It was a top-of-the-line model … which made her elder daughter, Kathy Sokoloff, curious. ‘I said, “Mom, why did you have to buy such a fancy machine?” ’ Her mother said: ‘Because it came with a 25-year warranty.’ She was 83 at the time.”