She came from a musical background with a cellist father, Josef Menter, and a singer mother Wilhelmine (b. Diepold). Sophie learned the piano during her early years, gave her first public performance aged just 15, and then travelled widely across Europe, and in 1883 she became an honorary fellow of the London Philharmonic Society. From 1883 to 1886 she was professor of piano at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, but left this position in 1886 following the breakdown of her 14-year marriage to the Bohemian cellist David Popper (1843–1913). She subsequently settled at Itter in Austria, but continued to compose and give recitals.
Tchaikovsky and Sophie Menter
Tchaikovsky was well acquainted with Sophie Menter, and stayed with her in Austria in September 1892. During this visit he orchestrated Menter's Ungarische Zigeunerweisen for piano and orchestra, and conducted the author at its premiere in Odessa four months later.
Correspondence with Tchaikovsky
3 letters from Tchaikovsky to Sophie Menter have survived, dating from 1891 to 1893, all of which have been translated into English on this website:
- Letter 4477 – 22 September/4 October 1891, from Maydanovo
- Letter 4974a – 19/31 July 1893, from Klin
- Letter 5004a – 8/20 August 1893, from Klin
4 letters from Sophie Menter to Tchaikovsky, dating from 1891 to 1893, are preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.