Sol Hurok, right, with Marian Anderson
Sol Hurok (Solomon Isiaevich Hurok; born Solomon Izrailevich Gurkov) (April 9, 1888, Ukraine — March 5, 1974, New York City) was a world famous 20th century American impresario. Hurok moved to the United States in 1906 and became a naturalized citizen in 1914.
During Hurok's long and illustrious career, S. Hurok Presents managed many major performing artists, including Marian Anderson, Irina Arkhipova, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Feodor Chaliapin, Van Cliburn, Isadora Duncan, Michel Fokine, Emil Gilels, Jerome Hines, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, David Oistrakh, Anna Pavlova, Jan Peerce, Svyatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Arthur Rubinstein, Isaac Stern, Galina Vishnevskaya, Efrem Zimbalist, and many others.
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The First Moog Quartet, the first to perform electronic music in Carnegie Hall, was formed in 1970 in response to Hurok's request to hear the Moog synthesizer in a live concert.
In 1935, Rubinstein introduced Hurok to singer Marian Anderson, who retained Hurok as her manager for the rest of her career. A few years later Hurok, with Walter White of the NAACP and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, was instrumental in persuading U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes to arrange the now-legendary Easter Sunday open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939.
In 1959, after 35 years of effort, Sol Hurok brought the historic Russian Bolshoi Ballet to the United States for an eight week performance tour. In 1961, he brought Russia's Kirov Academy of Ballet and the Igor Moiseyev Ballet Company to the U.S. In 1962, he achieved the extraordinary by again bringing the Bolshoi to the U.S. for a tour at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In honor of Hurok's vast influence on American music, on December 4, 1971 he was awarded the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Glee Club Award of Merit. Beginning in 1964, this award was "established to bring a declaration of appreciation to an individual each year that has made a significant contribution to the world of music and helped to create a climate in which our talents may find valid expression."
In 1972, a bomb planted in Hurok's Manhattan office exploded, killing Iris Kones and injuring several others, including Hurok. The bombing had been arranged by the Jewish Defense League, which opposed the U.S. tours of artists from the Soviet Union.
In 1974, en route to a meeting with David Rockefeller to discuss a Rudolf Nureyev project, Hurok died of a heart attack. More than two thousand people nearly filled Carnegie Hall for his funeral, where Marian Anderson delivered the final eulogy.