Our thanks goes to Gary Steigerwalt, formerly of Mt. Holyoke College, for almost all the information on this page..

Helen HOPEKIRK was the second child of Adam HOPEKIRK & Helen Graham CROALL,
born 20 May 1856 in Portobello, Duddingston, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.

The family was living at 148 High Street, Portobello, Scotland.

View the Plaque commemorating the place of Helen's birth
This plaque was erected by the Portobello Community Council on Sunday, 21 May 2006.
The plaque reads as follows:

     Helen Hopekirk
     Pianist Teacher
     Lived here 1856-1868

View the plaque located on the building at 148 High Street, Portobello, Scotland

In 1868 Helen moved into central Edinburgh, just a few miles away, continue her music and piano studies.

In 1874 Helen was training at the Leipiz Conservatory.

In 1881 Helen was living at 11 Bulstrode Street, London, Middlesex, England, in the household of the George Lovegrove family.
Helen is listed as a "boarder" and "music teacher," age 23, born in Edinburgh...

At St. Giles in 1882 Helen Hopekirk married Edinburgh merchant and music critic William A. Wilson (d. 1926), who began serving as her manager

To view a painting by John White Alexander, a famous American painter(1856-1915) titled "At the Piano," click here
It is Helen Hopekirk Wilson in 1894.

Below are links to recordings of some of Helen Hopekirk's finer works and number 4 below is a wonderful lecture about Helen's life.

1.  Recording of solo piano works by Helen Hopekirk.  Toccata Classics, a London-based label, has just released Gary Steigerwalt's lovely recordings of solo pieces by Helen Hopekirk.  Tracks can be streamed for free from the company’s website at the following link:
At this same link you can download the cd booklet written by Dana Muller and her husband Gary Steigerwalt, which contains an overview of Helen’s career and descriptions of the pieces included on the cd.

2.  Recording of live performance of Hopekirk’s Concertstück in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra.  This is an audio-only recording of Gary Steigerwalt's performance on 17 April 2015 of Hopekirk’s Concertstück (c.1895) with the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra under Tian Hui Ng, posted to YouTube:
It was the first performance of the work since Hopekirk played it with the Boston Symphony in 1904.

3.  Performance of Hopekirk’s Nordsee Lieder.  This is Hopekirk’s beautiful song cycle on poetry by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, performed by soprano Melinda Spratlan and piano by Gary Steigerwalt:

4.  Lecture-recital, The Audacity of Hopekirk, at the Library of Congress.  A fascinating look at Hopekirk’s character and the many Scottish influences revealed in her music, featuring James Wintle, lecturer and pianist, and Jennifer Wintle, soprano:

Helen's husband William A. Wilson passed away in 1926 and Helen passed away on 19 November 1945 at Cambridge, Massachusetts. They had no known issue.

William Cleghorn HOPEKIRK, Helen's first cousin twice removed, had been the guiding force behind erecting the tablet, linked above, at Helen’s birthplace in Portobello, Scotland, and for submitting Johanna v. Loessl’s oil  portrait of Helen to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.  The latter can be seen at this link:
Sadly, William Cleghorn Hopekirk, who took part in the family DNA sampling program back in 2006, passed away on 26 August 2009.

Read a wonderful article published in "the Scotsman", Evening News on Thursday, 6 April 2006

For more information about Helen Hopekirk, you may wish to find:

Muller, Dana G. "The Career and Piano Compositions of Helen Hopekirk." by Dana G. Muller, DMA Diss., Univ. of Hartford

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This page was last updated on 1 September 2017