Eudice Shapiro

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Violinist Eudice Shapiro was a constituent force in the Los Angeles music scene for nearly seven decades; initially trained by her father, Ivan Shapiro, she began her career in her native Buffalo as a…
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Violinist Eudice Shapiro was a constituent force in the Los Angeles music scene for nearly seven decades; initially trained by her father, Ivan Shapiro, she began her career in her native Buffalo as a child prodigy, and by age 12 made her debut as a soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic. She studied with Efrem Zimbalist at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, and on receiving her diploma tried to make it as a violinist on the East Coast, but found the competition too tough and was, as a woman, disadvantaged for work. She moved to Los Angeles in 1941 in hopes of finding a more hospitable atmosphere and swiftly found it in the movie studios recording film scores; working in the studios for nearly a quarter of a century, Shapiro served as the first female concertmaster at RKO. Another long-term position Shapiro held was as a professor of violin at the University of Southern California; joining the staff in 1956, she remained an integral part of the school's music curriculum until her death at age 93 some 51 years later. Shapiro also served as violinist in the American Art Quartet, a string quartet devoted to American contemporary music that disbanded in 1963 upon the death of Shapiro's husband, cellist Victor Gottlieb. Shapiro was also a long-time participant in the Monday Evening Concerts of contemporary music in Los Angeles and an early member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; it was through the latter organization that she became acquainted with Igor Stravinsky, with whom Shapiro's artistry is strongly associated. While she contributed much to music in Los Angeles, Shapiro frequently spent the summers away, participating in festivals such as those in Flagstaff, Aspen, and in the Manchester Music Festival in Vermont. Upon her passing, Shapiro's colleague noted, "Eudice Shapiro was a pioneer in many ways and set a new path that one could follow...her presence and art opened doors in countless ways."