This performance by cellist George Neikrug of the Glière Concerto in D Minor was recorded in 1963, with Christoph Stepp (Conductor) and the Munich Orchestra.
The Glière Cello Concerto was written in 1946. Early in January 1945, musical circles all over Russia celebrated the seventieth birthday of Reinhold Glière, Chairman of the Union of Soviet Composers, and one of the most influential teachers of modern times. Telegrams from all over the world, from such conductors as Stokowski and such artists as Heifetz, greeted the "Father of Soviet Composers". (Reinhold Glière’s reputation as a teacher is as remarkable as his genius as a composer!)
This performance by cellist George Neikrug of the Boccherini Concerto in D Major was also recorded in 1963, with Christoph Stepp (Conductor) and the Munich Orchestra. According to Mr. Neikrug, the Boccherini Concerto was recorded only a few days after the Glière.
Boccherini composed five cello concertos in the key of D Major. Italian-born Luigi Boccherini was one of the most prolific composers of his time, a cosmopolitan having lived in Europe’s major Cities: Milan, London, Berlin and Amsterdam. Boccherini was a contemporary of the great composers Haydn and Mozart and was undoubtedly overshadowed. Unfortunately his creativity and pioneering talent are often overlooked. Acclaimed as a cello virtuoso, Boccherini was one of the first composers to develop the cello as a separate personality in the medium of the string quartet. Using the traditional three movement Allegro-Adagio-Allegro form which was handed down from the Vivaldi, Tartini School, Boccherini was able to blend virtuoso technique and cantabile harmony.
Mr. Neikrug, a consummate cello virtuoso, is considered by many of his colleagues to be the greatest living string pedagogue. Born in New York, George Neikrug was a pupil of the legendary Emanuel Feuermann and is probably the only remaining student who is still concertizing. In 1943, he met the well-known pedagogue D.C. Dounis, whose revolutionary approach to the problems of string playing and teaching influenced him to completely revamp his playing and create the unique style he has retained to this day. This association lasted for a period of fifteen years, and Neikrug felt such a debt to Dounis for all the knowledge and skills he had learned that he resolved to devote his life to teaching at schools, such as Boston University, and giving master classes all over the world.
Since Neikrug's New York debut in 1947, he has held principal positions with the Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras. He was also principal cellist of the Paramount Pictures Recording Orchestra and the Columbia Recording Orchestra, which recorded the historic series of performances by Igor Stravinsky and Bruno Walter, who called Neikrug a "genuine musician and a real virtuoso of the cello."
In 1960, Leopold Stokowski asked Neikrug to perform Bloch's Schelomo with him and the NBC Symphony at Carnegie Hall, with a recording for United Artists to follow. After this performance, Stokowski sent him an autographed photo with the inscription "for George Neikrug's Schelomo -- unforgettable." In 1979, Neikrug performed all six Bach solo suites in one concert at Lincoln Center. In an enthusiastic review of this concert, John Rockwell of The New York Times concluded, "there was a beauty that was almost painful. We wish Mr. Neikrug would play all the violin suites for us."
Mr. Neikrug has appeared as a soloist with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Bruno Walter, Leopold Stokowski and Yehudi Menuhin, who stated, "I was most impressed with his profound and accurate understanding of his instrument, as well as string playing in general. He is a first-rate musician, and I cannot recommend him too highly." His recording of Bloch's "Schelomo" with Leopold Stokowski and the Symphony of the Air was recently re-released on the EMI label. In addition, Sony has recently released his recording of a duet by Mozart for cello, baritone and orchestra with George London, baritone, and the Columbia Symphony, conducted by Bruno Walter.
In 1962, Mr. Neikrug accepted a teaching position at the Hochschüle in Frankfurt, Germany, as a Fulbright Professor sponsored by Ernst Toch and Bruno Walter. He has held teaching positions at the Detmold Hochschule in Germany, Oberlin College, and the University of Texas at Austin before joining the faculty at Boston University School for the Arts in 1971. He was selected to receive the 1995 "Artist Teacher Award" from the American String Teachers Association. In 1996, he was invited by Janos Starker and the University of Indiana to receive the "Chevalier du Violoncelle" award for outstanding lifetime achievement on the cello. Many of his students are in major symphony orchestras all over the world, including some in principal positions and teaching at major universities.