Posted October 28, 2011

Update December 22, 2011

New York Times Obit on Steve Sokolow posted by his daughter Molly Hayden.  The photo is top row, 5th on the left – Steve in his youth.  Words cannot express the collective sense of loss felt by the Society and all who knew this unique individual.…

Steve Sokolow (1943-2011)

This is one of those notes one hopes one will never have to write. Talking about the death of an old and dear friend isn’t easy, but when that death impacts many others, it’s especially difficult.  WSNC president and charter member Steve Sokolow died October 25th, after suffering a massive cardiac event at his home a week earlier.

As well as being a friend, Steve was also integral to the functioning and success of the WSNC for 3 decades. He was around from the beginning of the organization. While I don’t have any statistics, I believe he was on the board longer than anyone. His even temper and ability to take the long view made him a stabilizing force when strong opinions clashed (and Wagnerians can have very strong opinions!). Even when he disagreed with someone, Steve would take the time to listen to the other viewpoint and make insightful comments. He was board president for a number of years and he edited Leitmotive in the mid-80s. He provided the libations at meetings, was the go-to person for thoughtful advice, and was always available to do whatever needed doing.

I met Steve when I joined the WS in 1983. The small group of 15 or so regulars became quite close and remain so today. Steve was a big part of my Wagner experience. When I took my first trip to Bayreuth in 1988, Steve was there. We went to town for an ice cream, and I got my first glimpse of the Festspielhaus lit up in the dark. It took our breath away. We disagreed about nearly every production (I’m much more of a purist) but there was always respect for the other’s views – and we always laughed about it. I never failed to learn something from Steve. And even though Steve knew more about the Ring than most everyone else put together, he was never full of himself.

Our thoughts and love are with Steve’s family, who encourage his friends to please listen to good music, drink or eat something delicious, talk with friends…anything that Steve would like.’

Trish Benedict – E-Notes Editor

Memorial details to be announced. Reminiscences about Steve can be left at the WSNC forum.

“Another day, another Gesamtkunstwerk.”
       -Steve Sokolow, Bayreuth, 1984

Oct 30 2011 – Addition

Most who knew Steve admired the elaborate designs he “doodled” while listening to lectures.  Steve’s daughter Molly loved them too and asked her Father for some of these doodles.  She has sent us a link to a webpage where some of these miniature masterpieces can be viewed.

November 1 Update

Steve is remembered on San Francisco Classical Voice website

 You are wekcine to post your comments about Steve on the WSNC Forum  under the heading “Wagner in the World”.  You will need to be a registered user on this site.  You can register by clicking “My Account Details” at the bottom of this page.  Follow the directions to obtain a User ID and a Password.  Thanks in advance for your input.