Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman is the author of The NPR Classical Music Companion, now in its tenth printing from the Houghton Mifflin Company. Before joining Morning Edition in 2002, Hoffman entertained and enlightened the nationwide audience of NPR's Performance Today every week for 13 years with his musical commentary, "Coming to Terms," a listener-friendly tour through the many foreign words and technical terms peculiar to the world of classical music.
A nationally renowned violist, Hoffman is violist and artistic director of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States and Canada. With the American Chamber Players he has recorded works of Mozart, Bruch, Bloch, Stravinsky, and Rochberg for a series of compact discs produced by the Library of Congress and distributed internationally on the Koch International Classics Label. He has also appeared as a soloist with many orchestras around the country, performing a broad repertoire that ranges from baroque to contemporary compositions, and he has been a featured lecturer for orchestras, universities, chamber music series, festivals, and various other organizations.
Hoffman is a graduate of Yale University and the Juilliard School. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Centenary College of Louisiana in recognition of his achievements as a performer and educator.
After winning awards in the National Arts Club and Washington International Competitions, he made his New York solo recital debut in 1979 at the 92nd Street Y, and has since played recitals in many cities in the U.S. and abroad. He gave the first American performance of Krzysztof Penderecki's "Cadenza" for solo viola and the first Washington area performance of the Penderecki Viola Concerto, and he has had works written for him by composers Bruce Saylor, Max Raimi, Roger Ames, and Seymour Barab, among others. In 1982 he founded the Library of Congress Summer Chamber Festival, which he directed for nine years, and which led to the formation of the American Chamber Players.
Hoffman presents children's programs, classes, and master classes in schools and universities around the U.S. when traveling as a soloist and on his tours with the American Chamber Players.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, commentator Miles Hoffman highlights the most notable of classical music couples.
Susan Stamberg talks with classical music commentator Miles Hoffman about a glorious holiday tradition — the singing of Handel's "Messiah." Hoffman answers the questions Stamberg has always wanted to ask, including: why do people stand up during the Hallelujah chorus, and by the way, how do you really pronounce the composer's name? Hint: it's not "Hondel."
On Morning Edition hear about the perfect accompaniment for preparing the holiday turkey. Music commentator Miles Hoffman joins the show to discuss pizzicato and the joys of plucking stringed instruments.