Hurok, Solomon

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HUROK, SOLOMON (Sol ; 1888–1974), U.S. impresario. Born in Pogar, Russia, Hurok went to the U.S. in 1906 and four years later began his managerial activities by organizing concerts in a Brooklyn community center. In 1916 he was introduced to ballerina Anna Pavlova, who became the first of the many dance artists he would manage, and who inspired his love of ballet. In his first commercial venture he rented the New York Hippodrome for a series of Sunday night celebrity concerts. The venture proved a success, and during the years that followed he directed a brilliant array of classical singers, musicians, dancers, and ballet companies. He estimated that he presented more than 4,000 artists and companies, among them Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Artur Rubinstein, Marian Anderson, Andrés Segovia, the Sadler's Wells Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Kirov and the Moiseyev, and Inbal from Israel. Some of his productions on Broadway include Petrouchka (1935), The Three-Cornered Hat (1935), Firebird (1935), Tropical Revue (1943), The Azuma Kabuki Dancers and Musicians (1954), Romeo and Juliet (1956), Intermezzo (1957), Volpone (1957), Ballet Espanol (1959), As You Like It (1974), and Nureyev and Friends (1974).

Hurok was also responsible for the telecasts of The Sleeping Beauty (1955) and Cinderella, both danced by the Sadler's Wells Company. He took part in the discussions in Washington and Moscow that led to an agreement between the Soviet Union and the U.S. on cultural exchanges.

Called "America's impresario No. 1," Hurok was renowned for his flair and flamboyance. He loved talented artists and opening-night extravaganzas, and he promoted his attractions with unbridled fanfare. Practicing what he preached, one of Hurok's mottos was "Get pleasure out of life … as much as you can. Nobody ever died from pleasure."

His memoirs were published as Impresario (written in collaboration with Ruth Goode, 1946), and S. Hurok Presents (1953). The 1953 musical film Tonight We Sing, written by Hurok and Ruth Goode, is based on his life and career.


H. Robinson, The Last Impresario: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Sol Hurok (1994)

[Anatole Chujoy /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]