Sophie-Carmen Fridman's life was nomadic and unconventional. She was born in Moscow where her mother, a piano student of Anton and Nicholas Rubinstein, worked as governess in the Tolstoy household. After several years at a commune in England, Sophie-Carmen was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire at the age of eight, where she majored in piano and violin. By age eleven she had given her first concerts in Paris, Geneva, and Berlin, playing both instruments on the same program.
Her marriage to Walter Gramatté in 1920 brought the freedom to devote herself full-time to composing and to giving recitals. Following Walter's untimely death in 1929, Sonia premiered her first piano and violin concertos in an American debut under the batons of Leopold Stokowski and Frederick Stock. Upon her return to Berlin, the young widow abandoned her performing career and devoted herself completely to composition.
In 1939, five years after her marriage to Ferdinand Eckhardt, the couple moved to Vienna where Sophie-Carmen continued to compose, receiving prestigious commissions and recognition for her work. The last twenty-one years of Sonia's life were spent in Winnipeg, breaking new ground as a composer and pedagogue on the Canadian prairies. Her work catalogue of over 175 compositions (symphonic, chamber, violin, and piano) attests to the fiery, dynamic spirit of an artist, steeped in the romantic tradition, carving a path for herself in the remarkable musical terrain of the twentieth century.