Toby Saks

Last updated
Toby Saks
Born(1942-01-08)January 8, 1942
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedAugust 1, 2013(2013-08-01) (aged 71)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Occupation(s)Founder and Artistic Director of Seattle Chamber Music Society
New York Philharmonic
Instruments Cello

Toby Saks (January 8, 1942 – August 1, 2013) was an American cellist, the founder of the Seattle Chamber Music Society and a member of the New York Philharmonic. [1] [2]

Cello musical instrument

The cello ( CHEL-oh; plural cellos or celli) or violoncello ( VY-ə-lən-CHEL-oh; Italian pronunciation: [vjolonˈtʃɛllo]) is a string instrument. It is played by bowing or plucking its four strings, which are usually tuned in perfect fifths an octave lower than the viola: from low to high, C2, G2, D3 and A3. It is the bass member of the violin family, which also includes the violin, viola and the double bass, which doubles the bass line an octave lower than the cello in much of the orchestral repertoire. After the double bass, it is the second-largest and second lowest (in pitch) bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra. The cello is used as a solo instrument, as well as in chamber music ensembles (e.g., string quartet), string orchestras, as a member of the string section of symphony orchestras, most modern Chinese orchestras, and some types of rock bands.

The Seattle Chamber Music Society (SCMS) is an American organization of musicians located in Seattle, Washington that is dedicated to the performance and promotion of chamber music. Established in 1982, the presenting organization is currently in its 30th Anniversary Season. Originally the organization only presented a series of summer concerts during the month of July at the Lakeside School. However, in 1999 the organization added a series of winter concerts during the month of January at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. In 2005 they expanded their summer series to include further performances during the month of August at The Overlake School in addition to the July performances.

New York Philharmonic American symphony orchestra in New York, NY

The New York Philharmonic, officially the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, Inc., globally known as New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO) or New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, is a symphony orchestra based in New York City. It is one of the leading American orchestras popularly referred to as the "Big Five". The Philharmonic's home is David Geffen Hall, located in New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.


Music history

Born in New York City to an immigrant family, Saks began music lessons at the age of five, first on the piano and then, at age nine, on the cello. [1] She studied at New York's High School of Performing Arts and later at the Juilliard School with Leonard Rose. [1] [2] She gave prize-winning performances at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and the Casals Competition in Israel. [3] In 1964, she won a Young Concert Artists's award.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in the state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

The High School of Performing Arts was a public alternative high school established in 1947 and located at 120 West 46th Street in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, from 1948 to 1984.

Juilliard School American performing arts conservatory in New York City

The Juilliard School, informally referred to as Juilliard and located in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, is a performing arts conservatory established in 1905. The school trains about 850 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music. It is widely regarded as one of the world's leading drama, music and dance schools, with some of the most prestigious arts programs. In 2016, QS Quacquarelli Symonds ranked it as the world's best institution for Performing Arts in their inaugural global ranking of the discipline.

In 1971, she joined the New York Philharmonic, one of the first women to do so. [1] [2] However, over the years, Saks grew to dislike playing in an orchestra and, in 1976, accepted a faculty position in the University of Washington's music department, where she replaced the retiring Eva Heinitz. [3]

University of Washington public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States

The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle, Washington.

Eva Heinitz (1907–2001) was a German musician, best known as a cellist but also highly acclaimed for her recordings on the viola da gamba. Heinitz, who was "half Jewish", left her native Berlin after the Nazis came to power, living first in France and later the United States, where she joined the faculty of the University of Washington in Seattle in 1948.

Seattle Chamber Music Society

In 1982, Saks averred that she missed performing publicly but at the same time observed that Seattle lacked a major outlet for the expression of "classical" music. [1] [2] Saks decided to correct that shortcoming and founded the Seattle Chamber Music Society, which has continued to host summer festivals that feature some forty artists every season. During her thirty-year career as artistic director of the Society, Saks hired some 266 artists, many of whom were housed by Saks and her immediate neighbors. [1] In 2012 Saks chose her replacement. He was James Ehnes, a former festival artist. [1] [2] [4] [2]

James Ehnes, is a Canadian concert violinist.

Personal life

In the late 1960s, Saks married philosopher and author David Berlinski and had two children, daughter Claire (born 1968) and son Mischa (born 1973), both of whom are published authors. [1] [2] [3] Saks and Berlinski later divorced.[ when? ]

David Berlinski is an American author, academic and mathematician who opposes the scientific consensus on the theory of evolution. He is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.

Claire Berlinski is an American journalist and author. Born and raised in California and other parts of the United States, including New York City and Seattle, she read Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford where she earned a doctorate in International Relations. She has lived in Bangkok, where she worked for Asia Times; Laos, where she worked briefly for the United Nations Development Program; and Istanbul, where she worked as a freelance journalist. She now lives in Paris, France.

Mischa Berlinski is an American author. His first novel, Fieldwork, was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. In 2008 Berlinski won a $50,000 Whiting Award, given to writers showing early promise in their careers.

In 2013, Saks was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after persistent abdominal problems. Hoping to attend the Society's festival, she chose to forgo treatment and, on August 1, died at the age of 71. She is survived by her husband of 25 years, Martin Greene, and her two children. [3]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Beck, Dave (August 1, 2013). "Toby Saks, Founder Of Seattle Chamber Music Society, Dead At 71". KUOW-FM . Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Bargreen, Melinda (July 4, 2011). "Departing Toby Saks: Chamber-music festival is 'rolling smoothly'". The Seattle Times . Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Bargreen (August 2, 2013). "Acclaimed Seattle musician Toby Saks dies". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  4. Kiraly, Philippa (July 24, 2011). "Seattle Chamber Music Society Bids Farewell to Founder Toby Saks". Retrieved August 2, 2013.