He was the only private pupil of Anton Rubinstein, was a prolific composer, before moving to the US during WWI. He was the first head of the piano department at the Curtis Institute of Music from its founding and was director of Curtis from 1927-1938. He left Curtis enmeshed in financial and administrative disputes and slowly faded from the music scene, giving his last Carnegie Hall recital in 1946, 60 years after his recital debut at Carnegie.
Hofmann was first recorded at age 10 by Thomas Edison and his first commercial recordings came out in Berin in 1903. His recordings, even from this early time, are notes for their astounding technique having a clarity and pureness of tone that has rarely, if ever, matched.
Hofmann made his fame on his performances of Chopin and Liszt and in this recording of the Chopin Ballade No. 4, Op. 52, closes with a bravura ending that moves Chopin out of the precious and into the powerful.
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