meet the treasurer

CCS Treasurer,  1998 -

Lawrence Block, a native of Chicago, was a founding member of the Chicago Cello Society, the second President of the Society and currently serves as Treasurer.  An avid chamber musician, he founded the Highland Park Strings in 1979 in collaboration with Francis Akos, former assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has served as General Manager of the orchestra and been its principal cellist from its first concert. 

Now in its 31st season, The Strings gives five concerts a year in Highland Park. World-class soloists have appeared with the orchestra, including over 40 members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mischa Dichter, Peter Frankl, Lazlo Varga, Glenn Dicterow, Jorge Federico Osorio, David Shifrin and Janos Starker, who has played with the Strings on four separate occasions. 

The Strings has toured in Italy, Israel and Mexico, where he performed as soloist. On the occasion of his 60th birthday he performed Schubert and Boccherini Quintets at Steppenwolf Theatre with Victor Aitay, Francis Akos, Janos Starker and Robert Swan. At that time, Janos Starker announced that Mr.
Block would be named a Chevalier du Violoncelle by the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center of Indiana University for his contributions to cello playing, a rare and special honor for an amateur cellist. 

A Trustee of the Ravinia Festival, Mr. Block serves on the board of directors of Steppenwolf Theatre, Highland Park Community Foundation and is past president of Highland Park Rotary. For 50 years he has been a member of the law firm Schiff Hardin LLP and was the firm's Chairman and Chief Operating Partner. While holding a “day job” as an attorney, he was a member of the Evanston and Skokie Valley Symphonies. For more than twenty years he played with the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Victor Aitay, where he often served as principal cellist. 

Mr. Block began his cello studies at age ten in order to play trios with his brother who is a violinist and his sister who is a pianist. He first studied with Alice Baker Lawrence, a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, then with Hans Hess, at the Chicago Musical College. While a student of Hans Hess, he won the Society of American Musicians Competition in the Junior and Senior Divisions. He plays the ex-Janos Starker William Ebbsworth Hill cello made in 1846 and a Diamond Coda bow.

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