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,
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
The plaque reads as follows:
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.At St. Giles in 1882 Helen
Hopekirk married Edinburgh merchant and music critic William A. Wilson
(d. 1926), who began serving as her manager
Helen is listed as a "boarder" and "music teacher," age 23, born in
To view a painting by John White Alexander, a famous American
painter(1856-1915) titled "At the Piano," click
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
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
This page was last updated on 1 September 2017