Cellist, pedagogue and composer August Suck (Sook) was born in the German-speaking lands (which would then include Bohemia) ca. 1830. He came to the United States in the early 1850s, making Boston his home. He played in the orchestra of the Boston Theatre from its inauguration in 1854; in fact, it is said he played the first note in the theatre, that of the cello solo in Rossini’s William Tell overture.

By 1861, Suck was in Gothenburg, Sweden, where a new orchestra had been founded by German and Bohemian musicians. He was, however, back in Boston by 1867, playing a quartet concert there that was reported by Dwight’s Journal of Music.

In 1881 Suck became a charter member of the newly founded Boston Symphony. With his first desk stand partner, Wulf Fries (1829-1902), Suck published a tutor, A Practical Violoncello Instruction Book, (Boston, Ditson: 1879; 2nd Ed. 1901).

Interestingly, he was noted for teaching cello to women, a practice still frowned upon at the time. This was the subject of an article in The Etude magazine, in September 1907. From at least 1900 to 1912 he played in a trio at the Algonquin Hotel in New Brunswick. This is the last known record of his musical activity. He died in April 1921.

In 2015 I purchased an archive of August Suck manuscripts. Those that are complete works including the cello have been or will be edited and published here. So far they include:

  • 6 Caprices (Etudes), for Solo Cello (1863-76)
  • Andante and Nocturne, for 2 Celli (1868)
  • Tarantella, for Cello and Piano (1879)
  • Introduction, Theme with Variations and Rondo, for Cello and Orchestra (score published here; parts available – inquire)
  • Concerto for Cello in D Minor, solo cello and piano reduction only; no orchestration exists to my knowledge.

Others will be forthcoming.

-Douglas Moore

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Music by August Suck

Suck, August: Andante and Nocturne for Two Cellos

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Suck, August: Concerto in D Minor for Cello and Piano

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Suck, August: Six Caprices (Etudes) for Solo Cello (1863-1876)

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Suck, August: Tarantella for Cello and Piano (1879)

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