« Baltimore Symphony puts vigorous spin on classics with Nicholas McGegan, Robert Levin | Main | Sunday's musical attractions include world premieres and choral favorites »

February 26, 2010

David Soyer, longtime cellist of Guarneri String Quartet, dies at 87

This news just in from the artist management firm Frank Solomon Associates:

We sadly share the news of the passing (on Thursday, February 25) of David Soyer, who was a major figure at the Marlboro Music School and Festival for almost fifty years. His last (and inspiring) public performances were at Marlboro last summer ... where he first came in 1961, at the invitation of Felix Galimir and Rudolf Serkin.

One of the most sought-after cellists in New York at the time, his involvement at Marlboro took his life in a new direction with the formation of the Marlboro Piano Trio with Anton Kuerti and Michael Tree and then, the founding at Marlboro of the Guarneri String Quartet in 1964 with Arnold Steinhardt, John Dalley and Michael Tree.

The first internationally-recognized American string quartet since the Juilliard Quartet, the Guarneri became a role model for the many quartets that were formed by Marlboro participants including the Cleveland, Emerson, Vermeer and more, recently, Brentano String Quartets. David Soyer remained with the quartet until 2002 making the Guarneri the longest continuing collaboration of any quartet in the world. Peter Wiley, one of Mr. Soyer's many successful former students, succeeded him, playing with the Quartet until their retirement last season.

Mr. Soyer performed the Schubert String Quintet in C Major with his Guarneri colleagues and friends last May for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Mr. Soyer performed on a Gugliano cello from Naples, Italy, 1778. He was a member of the Marlboro Board of Trustees and its Senior Artistic Commitee and with his wife Janet, were beloved figures in the Marlboro community. He served on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music (since 1968), the Juilliard School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music.

Here's a sample of the famed Guarneri ensemble, with Mr. Soyer on cello, performing Mozart:

Posted by Tim Smith at 1:25 PM | | Comments (0)

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog

Baltimore Sun coverage
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop
Famous faces in classical music
Sign up for FREE entertainment alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Most Recent Comments
Stay connected