Hofmann, Josef

Hofmann, Josef

(1876–1957) pianist; born near Cracow, Poland. A sensational child prodigy, he played Beethoven with the Berlin Philharmonic at age ten and made his American debut the following year. After further study with Anton Rubenstein and others, he resumed in 1894 the career as a virtuoso that he pursued the rest of his life. After 1898 he largely lived in the U.S.A.; from 1926–38 he was director of the Curtis Institute.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hofmann, Josef

 

Born Jan. 20, 1876, in Podgórze, near Kraków; died Feb. 16, 1957, in Los Angeles. Polish pianist, teacher, and composer.

Hofmann was the pupil of M. Moszkowski and A. G. Rubinstein. In 1898 he went to the USA, and from 1924 to 1938 he was a professor and director of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. From 1894 to 1946 he was a concert pianist; between 1896 and 1913 he appeared in concerts in Russia almost every year.

Hofmann was one of the world’s greatest pianists. His playing, displaying faultless mastery and technical brilliance, combined classical purity with a romantic poetic quality. His repertoire was unusually extensive, and he was particularly successful in performing the works of F. Chopin, R. Schumann, F. Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Liszt, as well as Moszkowski. He also composed works, mainly salon pieces. Hofmann wrote a book on piano playing that contains reminiscences of A. G. Rubinstein entitled Piano Playing, With Piano Questions Answered (1915; Russian translation, 1961).

REFERENCES

Kogan, G. “Iosif Gofman.” Sovetskaia Muzyka, 1956, no. 12.
Kogan, G. Voprosy Pianizma: Izbr. stat’i. Moscow, 1968.
Barinova, M. N. Vospominaniia o I. Gofmane i F. Buzoni. Moscow, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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