"One of the greatest living pianists." So stated Newsweek about Gary Graffman. Accolades such as this have followed Graffman throughout his professional career, a career that has encompassed over 30 years and made him a worldwide celebrity.
Born in New York City on October 14, 1928, Graffman showed a natural talent for the piano, beginning lessons at age three. When he was seven, Graffman was accepted by the all-scholarship Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. For the next 10 years, he studied with the well-known pedagogue Madame Isabelle Vengerova. Following his graduation from Curtis, he studied for several years with Vladimir Horowitz and, during summers, with Rudolf Serkin. In 1947, Graffman made his debut with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. Two years later, he won the prestigious Leventritt Award, which led to his debut with the New York Philharmonic, directed by Leonard Bernstein. During 1950, he studied in Europe as a Fulbright Scholar.
Until 1979, Gary Graffman maintained a professional career as a concert pianist, appearing with every major orchestra in the United States and recording for RCA and Columbia. His schedule of concerts and recitals, which numbered as many as 100 per year, found him not only crisscrossing North America but also the Atlantic and Pacific, highlighted by numerous tours of Central and South America, Europe, the U.S.S.R., Australia and Asia.
In 1979, an ailment to his right hand interrupted Graffman's intense performance schedule. He has subsequently limited his performing to repertoire composed exclusively for the left hand. In addition, he has written his autobiography, "I Really Should Be Practicing" (1981, Doubleday).
During the summer of 1986, Graffman became the Artistic Director of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Prior to this appointment, he was on the Curtis faculty as well as that of the Manhattan School of Music in New York.
Gary and Naomi Graffman were married in 1952. In addition to music, the Graffmans share an avid interest in antique Chinese ceramics.
SERIES I - PERFORMANCE FILES
Here are found programs, reviews, advertisements, promotional materials and like documents that are related to specific performances of Graffman. The materials are organized chronologically by performance date, and span from 1934 to the present. This series is located in boxes 1 through 26 (10 linear feet).
SERIES II - RECORDING FILES
Here are found reviews, advertisements and promotional materials that are related to commercial sound recordings made by Graffman from 1956 to 1976. This series also includes material of a general nature (newspaper clippings and promotional packages) relating to Graffman's recordings.
This series has been divided into three subseries:
Subseries 1: RCA Victor Recordings (1956-1961) and Victrola Reissues
Subseries 2: Columbia Recordings (1962-1976)
Subseries 3: Miscellaneous Material
In subseries 1 and 2, the materials are arranged chronologically by record issue number.
This series is located in box 27 and consists of approximately 200 items.
SERIES III - CORRESPONDENCE
This series comprises 22 items:
- 10 pieces of incoming correspondence
- 2 pieces of outgoing correspondence
- 10 pieces of correspondence written by persons other than Graffman.
The correspondence is located in box 28.
SERIES IV - SUBJECT FILES
Here are found various documents that have been divided into the following subseries:
Subseries 1: Education - including reports cards from Curtis Institute and
material relating Graffman's Fulbright Scholarship
Subseries 2: Awards - including material relating to the Rachmaninoff Fund and Leventritt competitions
Subseries 3: Graffman as Clinician, Adjudicator, Teacher, and Administrator
Subseries 4: Press Materials
Subseries 5: Professional Engagement Books from 1958 to 1979
Subseries 6: Contracts and related documents, including correspondence
Subseries 7: General/Biographical Newspaper and Magazine Articles
Subseries 8: Graffman as author
This series is located in boxes 29 through 32 (2 linear feet).
SERIES V - PHOTOGRAPHS
Here are found photographs and negatives that have been divided into the following subseries:
Subseries 1: Publicity Photographs and Portraits
Subseries 2: Graffman Performing
Subseries 3: Colleagues and Friends
Subseries 4: Snapshots and Slides
Subseries 5: Casual Photographs
Subseries 6: Miscellaneous Photographs
Subseries 7: Photographs of people other than Graffman
This series is located in boxes 33 and 34 (1 linear foot).