Hopekirk, Helen

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Hopekirk, Helen

Hopekirk, Helen, Scottish-born American pianist, teacher, and composer; b. Edinburgh, May 20, 1856; d. Cambridge, Mass., Nov. 19, 1945. Following training with A. C. Mackenzie, she attended the Leipzig Cons. (1876–78). On Nov. 28, 1878, she made her debut as soloist with the Gewandhaus Orch. in Leipzig, and then toured the Continent and Great Britain. In 1882 she married the businessman, music critic, and landscape painter William A. Wilson, who subsequently served as her manager. On Dec. 7, 1883, she made her U.S. debut as soloist with the Boston Sym. Orch., and then toured the country until 1887. After piano lessons with Leschetizky in Vienna (1887–89), she pursued training in composition in Paris (1892–94). From 1897 to 1901 she taught at the New England Cons, of Music in Boston, and thereafter privately. She continued to pursue her career as a pianist, making her farewell appearance in 1939 in a concert devoted entirely to her own compositions. In 1918 she became a naturalized American citizen. As a performer, she gave the first U.S. performances of several works by Debussy and other French composers. In her own works, she gave primary concern to producing scores notable for their modal melodies and harmonies. She arranged and ed. Seventy Scottish Songs (Boston, 1905).


Concertstück for Piano and Orch. (1894); Piano Concerto (Boston, Dec. 27, 1900, composer soloist); 2 violin sonatas (n.d., 1891); many piano pieces; choral works; 91 songs.


C. Hall and H. Tetlow, H. H. 1856-1945 (Cambridge, Mass., 1954).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire