Konrad Wolff was born in Berlin, March 11, 1907 to a German father and British mother. He was educated in German schools until 1925. That same year he commenced studies at the University of Berlin and the University of Heidelberg, studies which continued until 1929. In 1930 he graduated Magna Cum Laude with the degree of Doctor of Law from Berlin University. In 1934-35 he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and acquired the Diplomes d'etudes superieures. In 1936, Wolff married photographer/artist Ilse Bing and they moved to the United States in 1941. Wolff became an American citizen in 1946.
Wolff's pianistic education included private studies under Liszt pupil Joseph Lomba, Bruno Elsner and Artur Schnabel. He gave solo recitals in New York, Washington, Boston, London, Paris and Amsterdam in addition to frequent chamber music performances. In addition, Wolff performed many lecture-recitals for the Association of American Colleges and the University of Minnesota Lecture Bureau. Master classes included Smith College, New England Conservatory, University of the Pacific, and Bradley University. He was engaged for a residency at the University of Texas just before his death.
Wolff served on the piano faculties at Westchester Conservatory (1949-54), Drew University, NJ (1952-62), and Peabody Conservatory (1963-74), where he also taught chamber music, score analysis, and graduate piano literature.
Best known to the general world of music as champion of the artistry and teaching of Artur Schnabel, Wolff's impressive study of his teacher Schnabel's Interpretation of Piano Music (2nd edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 1979) is considered the ultimate authority. Other major books include Masters of the Keyboard (2nd edition. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990) and Erich Itor Kahn (Paris 1958) on which he collaborated with Rene Leibowitz. Additional publications include an edition of Schumann's On Music and Musicians and many contributions to the Musical Quarterly, the Journal of the American Liszt Society, Piano Quarterly, and other periodicals.
Wolff died of heart failure October 23, 1989 in Cologne, Germany where he was performing and lecturing.
SERIES I - PERFORMANCE FILES
Here are found programs and reviews related to specific performances by Konrad Wolff. The files are organized chronologically by performance date and span the period May 31, 1945 through November 17, 1989. This series is located in Boxes 1 - 3.
SERIES II - WRITINGS
This series contains the bulk of the material in the Konrad Wolff collection. Included are published books and articles in addition to miscellaneous writings by KW. The material is located in Boxes 3 - 10 and is divided as follows:
A. Published Books - Box 3
B. Manuscripts of Published Books - Boxes 4 & 5
C. Various Writings - Boxes 6 - 8
D. Miscellaneous Writings - Boxes 8 & 9
- Various Notes - Box 8
- Notebooks - Box 9
- Theses - Box 10
SERIES III - CORRESPONDENCE
This series, located in Boxes 11 and 12, comprises letters, divided into the following categories:
A. Letters to KW - Boxes 11 & 12
B. Letters from KW - Box 12
C. Condolence letters to Ilse Bing - Box 12
D. Miscellaneous Letters - Box 12
SERIES IV - SUBJECT FILES
Here are found various documents related to Konrad Wolff's personal and professional life. Located in Boxes 13 - 19, this series is divided into the following categories:
A. KW's Life - Boxes 13 & 14
B. KW as Juror and Educator - Boxes 15 & 16
C. Publishing of KW's Books - Box 17
D. Other People's Writings, Reviews, Publicities, etc - Box 18
E. Miscellaneous - Box 19
SERIES V - MUSIC COMPOSITIONS (Manuscripts)
This series, in Boxes 20 and 21, contains mostly manuscripts of KW's music compositions. They are organized into 2 large categories:
A. Laurie's Music Book - Box 20
Music by Konrad Wolff, compiled by Edna Dean McGray
B. Manuscripts - Box 21
I. Solo Piano Pieces
II. Ensemble Music
IV. Miscellaneous Manuscript Pages
V. Other People's Compositions
VI. Music Notebooks