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CCM Professor of Composition Joel Hoffman (left) with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams.

CCM Professor of Composition Joel Hoffman (left) with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams.

CCM Professor of Composition Joel Hoffman Announces Retirement

CCM Professor of Composition Joel Hoffman

The CCM family will bid a fond farewell to a longtime faculty member later this year, as Joel Hoffman has announced that he will retire at the end of fall semester.

A Professor of Composition and head of CCM's Division of Composition, Musicology and Theory (CMT), Hoffman joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati in 1978, after receiving his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wales and a MM and DMA from the Juilliard School. CCM was one of the many academic positions he applied for when he was just 24 years old.

“At the time, I would never have predicted I’d remain for 36 years, but the job evolved and continued to offer new challenges over the years,” explains Hoffman. He became CMT’s division head in 2008.

Hoffman says that the composition department was solid when he arrived, but over the last 36 years it has improved tremendously, especially in terms of the caliber of graduate and undergraduate students. Most importantly, CMT has expanded the ways in which they’ve been able to offer students opportunities for performance of their works.

Hoffman believes the variety of performance opportunities including orchestral, chamber, choral, percussion, electronic and multimedia is what makes CCM’s composition program unique.

“CCM is an institution in which new music is accepted as a normal part of the literature that is studied and performed. Also, we are a school inside an urban environment, rather than in a university town, which gives our young composers many opportunities to experience and be part of musical projects that go far beyond those found only in academic settings.”

As a result of these differentiators, the program now stands as one of the top 10 music composition programs in the nation, according to the most recent rankings from the U.S. News & World Report.

Hoffman is indebted to many people at CCM including Jonathan Kramer, Norman Dinerstein, Dorothy Delay, Betty Glover, Zara Nelsova, William Black, Sara Lambert Bloom, Frank Weinstock, James Tocco, Bill Winstead, Allen Otte, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Gerhard Samuel and Lee Fiser, to name just a very few of a much larger number of inspiring and wonderful colleagues, both past and present.

He says he will miss the weekly contact with these colleagues as well as his students. Hoffman hopes they have benefited from his teaching as much as he’s learned from them. He feels he’s a far stronger composer from the lessons learned alongside his students.

Hoffman explains that the term "retirement" doesn't really describe the professional life waiting for him post-CCM. He will serve as part-time guest professor at two schools in Beijing, China, and teach a summer course for composers on an island in the Adriatic Sea. He will also hold a number of short-term guest residencies at music schools in the US, Europe and Asia.

Apart from these teaching jobs, the main focus of his work in the years ahead is to be a full-time composer, writing music, fulfilling commissions and attending and participating in performances of his work. He says he would also like to get back into playing concerts as a pianist.

From left to right: Joel Hoffman with violinist Cho-Liang (Jimmy) Lin and music director Jesús López-Cobos backstage after the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra premiere of his Violin Concerto in January of 1989. Written for Lin, the performance represented the first violin concerto premiere with the CSO in the 20th century.

From left to right: Joel Hoffman with violinist Cho-Liang (Jimmy) Lin and music director Jesús López-Cobos backstage after the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra premiere of his Violin Concerto in January of 1989. Written for Lin, the performance represented the first violin concerto premiere with the CSO in the 20th century.

“I will very much miss being a part of the CCM community—a community of which I have been a part of for almost all of my adult life. It's been stimulating, challenging and rewarding… it's been home. But it's time for another chapter to begin,” says Hoffman.

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The Ariel Quartet

CCM's Faculty Artist Series
Joel Hoffman, composer
4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014

Hoffman will be joined by CCM’s acclaimed string quartet-in-residence, the Ariel Quartet, for a performance of his fourth quartet during this special concert event.

Location: Robert J. Werner Recital Hall, CCM Village
Admission: FREE

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