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Gary Graffman

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NEWS
November 1, 2007 | By Daniel Webster FOR THE INQUIRER
Although no pianist would willingly play works only for left hand, the wounded few who do widen their audiences' understanding and move that understanding nearer awe. Gary Graffman, now nearly 30 years into a career of single-handed pianism, played his second local full recital Tuesday at the Perelman Theater. In music ranging from Kirchner to Scriabin, his playing suggested that one hand might be more than enough to unlock music's secrets - or that those with double digits are not fully using their resources.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 1986 | By Michael Kimmelman, Inquirer Music Critic
The Curtis Institute of Music's board of trustees yesterday voted to name pianist Gary Graffman the school's artistic director. Graffman succeeds John de Lancie, whose eight-year tenure as head of the school ended last spring with his forced resignation, following disagreements that divided the board. In announcing Graffman's appointment, board chairman A. Margaret Bok said she was "ecstatic. First of all, he is a fitting candidate for Curtis. Secondly, I feel he is going to have universal acceptance.
NEWS
June 4, 2001 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Gary Graffman, the Curtis Institute of Music's director since 1986, has agreed to stay at the school's helm through at least through 2005. Graffman, 72, who first came to the school as a 7-year-old to study piano with famed pedagogue Isabelle Vengerova, has two more years on his current contract. He had urged the board to form a search committee for his successor, and, in fact, the committee's first meeting had been scheduled. But when faced with the task of finding a replacement, Curtis board members began wondering why Graffman was interested in leaving in the first place.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 27, 2003 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Although Curtis Institute of Music director Gary Graffman is not expected to step down anytime soon, a search has begun for his successor. A search committee has been formed and has already determined that it will seek a new Curtis director with a strong international profile as a performing musician - as was the case with Graffman and his predecessors. Curtis board chairman Richard A. Doran, who is also heading the search, said a new director would be charged with keeping "the tradition alive and well," and that the coming transition would not be an opportunity to change the philosophy of the school, which is narrowly focused on training orchestral and solo musicians, vocalists, conductors and composers.
NEWS
April 19, 2006 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
A gray spring morning, and the Curtis Institute of Music is spilling out onto Rittenhouse Square like a noisy time capsule. From somewhere above the ornate lobby of the onetime mansion on the square's east side, orchestral excerpts and piano concertos fuse into a marvelously anachronistic sound sample. Gary Graffman, extremely sure of himself in a pleasant, even courtly way, is on the phone in his dark-paneled office speaking in Russian to one of the piano students. Except for students on laptops using Curtis' wireless network, not much appears to have changed at Curtis since its founding.
NEWS
January 13, 1995 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Josef Gingold, 85, a violinist and teacher who trained Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Joshua Bell, died Wednesday night in Bloomington, Ind., several days after he apparently suffered a heart attack. "He was one of the greatest teachers over a very long period of time," said Gary Graffman, director of the Curtis Institute of Music and a longtime friend. "He influenced people everywhere in the world. " Mr. Gingold was born in 1909 in Brest-Litovsk, Russia, and immigrated to New York with his family in 1920.
NEWS
December 1, 2003 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Composers have been increasingly visible at Philadelphia Orchestra concerts. They shamble on stage before the performance, say charmingly semi-comprehensible things about their pieces, and sometimes even dish the local critic. Yet composer Jennifer Higdon, who lives only four blocks away from the Kimmel Center, didn't do any of that on Friday when her piece blue cathedral made its Philadelphia Orchestra debut. And that was a relief. The piece needs no introduction. It defies analysis and might be unexplainable.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 14, 1998 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
David Zinman, in the second week of the "American Originals" programs with the Philadelphia Orchestra, drew his audience Friday into the maze at the heart of artistic creation. He led the local premiere of William Bolcom's Gaea, a work that unfolds gradually through three performances of the fundamental musical ideas. Bolcom's concerto is an ingenious, puzzlelike work that simultaneously serves the specific need of pianists Gary Graffman and Leon Fleisher and opens the curtain on the way music is imagined and realized.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 1994 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For a pianist, there's no greater tragedy than a hand injury. But if there's a silver lining, it's in the repertoire composers have created for those musicians persistent enough to continue their careers solodextrous. Gary Graffman is one such performer, and the director of the Curtis Institute of Music presented a survey of one-hand works Thursday night at the Free Library's main branch on Logan Square. Like most pianists, Graffman's problems are with his right hand. There's a theory that the right hand is used more often and with greater rigor than the left, leaving it more susceptible to injury.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 20, 1989 | By Lesley Valdes, Inquirer Music Critic
Cheryl Studer makes her debut in the title role of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor on Monday. The American soprano was last heard here in the spring during the Philadelphia Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony under Riccardo Muti, and is increasingly warranting attention in the best international houses. It will be interesting to hear how the dramatic coloratura, who is 33 and has made her reputation in the heavier Wagner and Strauss, treats Donizetti's bel canto in the role of the doomed bride in a production by the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 7, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Most siblings look back on a childhood of pick-up football games and getting into scrapes together. Ashley, Daniel, and Andrew Hsu, on the other hand, may remember the time they played Beethoven's last three piano sonatas on a single program while still students at the Curtis Institute of Music. That time was Wednesday night in Field Concert Hall. They could have chosen a strand of Beethoven bagatelles, or taken turns with the Goldberg Variations, if the only point had been to play up the familial connection.
NEWS
February 1, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
On the off chance that you missed the point during the Schumann and Schubert, pianist Kuok-Wai Lio slipped in an encore Thursday night at his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society debut, declaring the school of pianism from which he springs. It doesn't get much more ostentatious than Rachmaninoff's take-off on the "Liebesleid" by Fritz Kreisler. But how, you might wonder, did old-world keyboard giants such as Rachmaninoff, Josef Hofmann, and Jorge Bolet come to inhabit the soul of a 26-year-old Macau-born prodigy?
NEWS
May 9, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
CENTER CITY Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein came and went, but she never left. Rudolf Serkin, Rose Bampton, and Fritz Reiner - they were just passing through. In fact, at the Curtis Institute of Music, everyone else ranks as a mere carpetbagger next to Eleanor Sokoloff. The school's prima donna piano professor, given to sharp outfits and sharper opinions, came to the school as a student in 1931, started teaching in 1936, and never left. There she was, still, at Curtis' traditional Wednesday tea - but this one poured in her honor from the school's lustrous samovar.
NEWS
October 7, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Though Leon Fleisher - The Complete Album Collection (Sony 88725459972) contains 23 CDs, it is far from comprehensive. But those who care about the truncated career of this great pianist are likely to find recordings they have long sought or never knew existed - and for only about $60. Though his Brahms and Beethoven concertos never went out of print, the Columbia vaults left important items unissued for years, perhaps because they were in...
NEWS
October 7, 2013 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
When Gary Graffman was director of the Curtis Institute of Music, he used to tell students that the recorded legacy was a distortion. The act of saving some recordings and discarding others - the natural selection of that business - means that all available evidence is not necessarily an accurate portrait of the artist. That might not apply in Graffman's own case. On his 85th birthday, he is getting a gift from Sony Classical: a 24-CD boxed set of recordings from the 1950s on. I can't say for sure, not having been alive during the late-mid-century shank of Graffman's career, but based on his performances during the last 25 years, it seems the pianist you hear in these testaments - Rachmaninoff from 1964, Schubert from 1956 - is unshakably true to form.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 11, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Classical musicians have no standard retirement age, partly because artistry isn't an occupation but a way of life, and ways of expressing it are constantly modified according to the physical changes of maturity. In theory. The collective age of the six musicians onstage at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society's season-opening concert Sunday inched toward half a millennium. Often you heard it; often you didn't. Always, the long-cultivated goodwill inspired by these performers overrode the former and certainly celebrated the latter.
NEWS
November 2, 2010 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Jonathan Biss, the young concert pianist with a substantial international career, is taking his first faculty position: at the Curtis Institute of Music, his alma mater. Biss, 30, based in New York, will join the Curtis roster next fall. "I'm starting right at the top," Biss said Monday from his Georgia stop on a U.S. tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. "For the last five or six years I've been coming to Curtis about once a year to do master classes, but I've not had a student in my charge - so that's going to be a new experience.
NEWS
June 15, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Most 19-year-olds with a full scholarship at a prestigious institution of higher learning are implored to stay there no matter what. But nobody as young as Haochen Zhang ever won the career-making Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Given a choice between grabbing the brass ring and writing term papers for a Curtis Institute bachelor's degree, Zhang's answer was both. "Concerts are important and that's what I've dreamed about since I was young. But my age is still the age of learning," he said recently at Curtis.
NEWS
May 15, 2010 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
On paper it was yet another student recital at the Curtis Institute of Music, the 99th of the season. But this program of Schubert and Schumann played by Kuok-Wai Lio doubled as something rarer - the quiet launching pad for a career. In Thursday night's audience at Curtis' Field Concert Hall were not only Gary Graffman, with whom the Macau-born pianist has studied for four years, but also Earl Blackburn, the savvy artists' agent who has handled Lang Lang and Yuja Wang (also Graffman students)
NEWS
November 15, 2009 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Perched on the edge of a rocking chair with a score opened before her, Eleanor Sokoloff looks up into the air and shakes her head in time to the music. "That's a girl," she says, her forceful alto overpowering the Beethoven. "I could use a little more top. Ah. That makes all the difference in a phrase. " The French cuffs of Sokoloff's 15-year-old student glide over the B?sendorfer keyboard. And then Sokoloff stops her. "Well . . . ," she says with distaste and suspicion in her voice.
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