Deborah Hoffman Harp Dedication Concert at MSM to Feature Members of the MET Orchestra and New York Philharmonic

Sunday, November 6, 2 PM

Cho-Liang Lin Among Performers in Dedication Concert

NEW YORK, NY (October 27, 2016) – More than a dozen members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and New York Philharmonic will perform at Manhattan School of Music (MSM) on Sunday, November 6, 2 PM, as part of a unique harp dedication concert celebrating the life of renowned harpist Deborah Hoffman (1960-2014). The concert will mark the official unveiling of a new Lyon & Healy harp dedicated in Ms. Hoffman’s name to the MSM harp studio. Donated with contributions from family and friends of Ms. Hoffman as well as generous matching donations from Lyon & Healy Harps, Inc., the instrument has received rave reviews from MSM students for its sound, playability, and beauty.

The concert and unveiling will take place in MSM’s Gordon K. and Harriet Greenfield Hall.

Ms. Hoffman joined the Met Orchestra as principal harpist in 1986 and was head of the harp department at Manhattan School of Music for 17 years. In addition to her position with the Met Opera, she also served as second harpist of the Pittsburgh Symphony and principal harpist of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

Ms. Hoffman passed away in February 2014 at age 53 of a rare lung condition.

Also performing at the November 6 harp dedication concert will be family members and MSM students, faculty, and alumni.


Location: Manhattan School of Music, Gordon K. and Harriet Greenfield Hall

Date & Time: Sunday, November 6, 2 PM

Artists: Nancy Allen (harp), Mariko Anraku (harp), Toby Hoffman (viola), Gary Hoffman (cello), Cho-Liang Lin (violin), Elizabeth Mann (flute), Anthony McGill (clarinet), Dov Scheindlin (viola), Janet Todd (soprano), MSM harp students and alumni, and members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and New York Philharmonic Orchestra

Program & Repertoire:

1) Danse sacrée et danse profane – Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Violin – David Chan, Katherine Fong, Toni Glickman, Annamae Goldstein, Amy Kaufman, Karen Marx, Caterina Szepes, Nancy Wu
Viola – Ron Carbone, Mary Hammann, Catherine Ro, Dov Scheindlin
Cellos – Dora Figueroa, Jerry Grossman, Kari Docter
Basses – Dan Krekeler, Leigh Mesh
Conductor – Toby Hoffman

2) Introduction et Allegro – Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Performers: Mariko Anraku (harp), Elizabeth Mann (flute), Anthony McGill (clarinet), Cho-Liang Lin (violin), Yoon Kwon (violin), Toby Hoffman (viola), Gary Hoffman (cello)

3) I Ask My Mother To Sing – Roger Nierenberg (b. 1947)

Performers: Janet Todd (soprano), Elizabeth Mann (flute), Dov Scheindlin (viola), Mariko Anraku (harp)

4) of Deborah, for Deborah – Joel Hoffman (b. 1953)

Performers: Nancy Allen (harp), Cho-Liang Lin (violin), Toby Hoffman (viola), Gary Hoffman (cello)


Remarks by Roger Nierenberg

5) Aria in Classic Style for Harp – Marcel Grandjany (1891-1975)

Performers: Ruth Bennett, Mélanie Genin, Sissi He (harp)

6) Joplin Suite* – Scott Joplin (1865-1917), arr. Susan Jolles

7) La joyeuse* - Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764), arr. Carlos Salzedo

* performed by the MSM Harp Ensemble (Caroline Bembia, Katherine Kappelmann, Charity Kiew, Hyo Ju Lee, Dominique Moreno, Hannah Murphy)


In the summer of 2015, the MSM Harp Faculty, Ms. Susan Jolles, and Ms. Mariko Anraku, flew to Chicago to visit the Lyon & Healy Harps showroom and select a harp in memory of Deborah Hoffman. The harp they selected (Style 11 Concert Grand) is a superb instrument, which has received great reviews from MSM students for its sound, playability, and beauty. For those who so generously donated to the fund, in addition to Lyon & Healy's dollar-for-dollar match of all funds raised, the MSM Community is extremely grateful. Below are pictures we hope you enjoy.


A remembrance by Grace Cloutier from

Deborah was an amazing musician, remarkable harpist, and extraordinary woman. She was an inspiration to many, and she is sorely missed by all who knew her.

The youngest born into a famous musical family, Deborah garnered a multitude of impressive accolades in her career as she pushed the boundaries of performance, sound, and musicality. As a dynamic and determined young woman fresh out of school, she won the coveted Metropolitan Opera principal harp position in 1987 and held it until her death. She enjoyed a long and outstanding international career and was highly respected by harpists and musicians alike.

Over the course of her career she was a top prize winner of the 7th International Harp Contest in Israel (1979), first prize winner of the American Harp Society National Competition (1981), solo recitalist at the first World Harp Congress in the Netherlands (1981), and soloist with the National Symphonies of Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia, and in New York with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Met Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, under the baton of James Levine. In addition to her principal harp position with the Met Opera, she also served as second harpist of the Pittsburgh Symphony and principal harpist of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. A strong chamber musician, she was regularly in demand at major music festivals such as Verbier, La Jolla, Caramoor, Spoleto, Saratoga, Sitka, Saint Nazaire, and Aspen to name a few. A passionate and dedicated master harp teacher, she taught at both the Verbier and Aspen Music Festivals, while serving as the chairperson of the harp department at the Manhattan School of Music for 17 years. Deborah was extremely generous with her time and gave masterclasses worldwide and performances for the American Harp Society and the World Harp Congress.

Deborah studied at the Juilliard School, where she obtained both her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees under legendary teacher Susann McDonald. Over the course of 28 years in affiliation with the Metropolitan Opera, she recorded numerous operatic albums and live broadcasts. She also completed a Grammy-nominated recording of original transcriptions of Chopin works for flute and harp on the Arabesque Records label.

From her New York Times obituary: “As a young child she had such a naturally gifted ear that she was able to memorize pieces on first hearing. Her keen awareness of orchestral texture enabled her to unfailingly know exactly when and how to fit in. Early in her professional career she discovered that she had somehow developed the capacity to mind-read conductors to know exactly what their intentions were. This made her the favorite of many maestros. ‘I can always count on her for exactly what I want,’ said James Levine, Music Director at the Met. ‘She’s a great musician, she’s a great harpist, she’s a great colleague, she’s a great citizen in the orchestra.’ Those who knew her can never forget her delightful sense of humor, positive attitude, enthusiasm, animated facial expressions, and intellectual curiosity. Ever-present and aware, she could remember details from conversations or events that took place years in the past. A person of impeccable integrity, she had that rare capability of always speaking the truth, yet almost never offending. She is survived by her mother, Esther Glazer, and father, Irwin Hoffman, her brothers, Joel, Gary and Toby, her husband, Roger Nierenberg, nephews and nieces Sascha, Benjamin, Natania, Nasu, Solomon, and two step-children, David and Rachel Nierenberg.”

I honor and thank Deborah Hoffman for her amazing spirit. She was the atypical New York superstar who somehow always made time for me, even when she had none. Whether I was preparing to record an album, learning notes for an audition, solidifying the final touches for an important solo concert, or needed life advice, Deborah was there for me. She was incredibly generous, loving, kind, brilliant, sensitive, and determined. She had a fiery look in her eye and a lust for life. She has inspired me to continue to try to be the very best musician, harpist, teacher, and most importantly, soul, that I can be. She has taught me to face my fears, and for all of this and more, I am truly grateful.


Founded as a settlement music school by Janet Daniels Schenck in 1918, today Manhattan School of Music is recognized for its 950 superbly talented undergraduate and graduate students who come from more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 states; a world-renowned artist-teacher faculty; and innovative curricula. The School is dedicated to the personal, artistic, and intellectual development of aspiring musicians, from its Precollege students through those pursuing postgraduate studies.

Offering both classical and jazz training – and, beginning in fall 2016, a Bachelor's degree program in musical theater – MSM grants Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, as well as the Professional Studies Certificate and Artist Diploma. Additionally, true to MSM's origins as a music school for children, the Precollege program continues to offer superior music instruction to young musicians between the ages of five and 18. The School also serves some 2,000 New York City schoolchildren through its Arts-in-Education Program, and another 2,000 students through its critically acclaimed Distance Learning Program.