The musician was section leader for 32 years


William Stokking, principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra for 32 years, has died aged 81. The son of a professional violinist, Stokking was born in New Jersey in April 1933. He was a student of Gregor Piatigorsky at the Curtis Institute of Music, and of Felix Salmond and Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School in New York.

At the outbreak of the Korean War, he enlisted in the Navy and became solo cello with the Navy Band and Orchestra in Washington, DC.

He served as principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra and the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia and was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was principal cellist of the Philadelphia orchestra from 1973 until his retirement in 2005.

Stokking was a faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music and joined the Curtis Institute of Music in 2000.

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