Biographies Gary Graffman

Gary Graffman was born in New York City in 1928, to Russian parents. Although his father, a violinist and a student of the influential pedagogue Leopold Auer, dropped a rather large hint with a gift to his son of a small fiddle, Graffman's affinity for the piano soon became evident. He won a scholarship to study with Isabelle Vengerova at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia at age seven, and at age ten he made his New York recital debut at Town Hall. After graduating from the Curtis Institute in 1946, he won the Rachmaninoff Prize, which led, in the following year, to his orchestral debut with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1949 he won the Leventritt Award and was invited to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. A Fulbright Award in 1951 took him to Europe; after he returned to America, he studied privately with Vladimir Horowitz in New York and with Rudolf Serkin at the Marlboro Festival in Vermont.

Graffman's career has included solo and chamber music recitals, guest appearances with major orchestras, and a series of acclaimed recordings for the Columbia (CBS) and RCA labels. Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Eugene Ormandy, and George Szell are among the conductors with whom he has been associated.

In 1979, an injury to his right hand briefly interrupted Graffman's performing career. He then developed a repertoire of piano pieces written strictly for the left hand, primarily piano concerti originally created for Paul Wittgenstein, the one-armed piano-playing brother (he had lost his right arm in World War I) of the famous philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. In addition, he has premiered new works for the left hand by modern-day composers Daron Hagen (Seven Last Words), Richard Danielpour (Piano Concerto no. 3, "Zodiac Variations"), Luis Prado (Piano Concerto for Left Hand), Ned Rorem (Piano Concerto no. 4), and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski (Concerto Nicolò). He premiered William Bolcom's "Gaea" Concerto, for two pianos left hand and full orchestra, with his friend and colleague Leon Fleisher.

Graffman held teaching positions at the Curtis Institute and the Manhattan School of Music before becoming the artistic director of the Curtis Institute in 1986, and then its president in 1995. His memoir, I Really Should Be Practicing, was published by Doubleday in 1981. Mr. Graffman has written popular articles on non-musical subjects and pursues a scholarly interest in Asian art and photography. The University of Pennsylvania and the Juilliard School of Music, among other institutions, have awarded him honorary doctorates. He is the recipient of New York City's Handel Medallion and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Governor's Arts Award, and is the honoree of an inscription in bronze along Philadelphia's Walk of Fame.



RCA Victor LM 2012

Prokofiev, Sergei.
   Sonata for piano no. 2 in D minor, op. 14

Reissue: Columbia AMS 6444 (1963)


RCA LM 2190

Schumann, Robert.
   Sonata for Piano no 2 in G minor, Op. 22
Romance for piano in F-sharp, op. 28, no. 2
   Symphonic études, op. 13


RCA LSC 2274
Boston Symphony Orchestra. Charles Munch, conductor.

Brahms, Johannes.
   Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15

Reissue: RCA VICS 1109 (1965)

RCA Victor LSC 2304

Chopin, Frederic.
   Ballade for piano no 1 in G minor, B 66/Op. 23
   Ballade for piano no 2 in F major/a minor, B 102/Op. 38
   Ballade for piano no 3 in A flat major, B 136/Op. 47
   Ballade for piano no 4 in F minor, B 146/Op. 52
   Andante spianato et Grand polonaise brillante in E flat major, Op. 22

Reissue: RCA Victrola VICS 1077 (1966)


RCA 2396
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Walter Hendl, conductor.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37

Reissue: RCA 1059 (1964)

RCA LM 2443

Liszt, Franz.
   Liebestraum, op. 62, no. 3
   Un sospiro.
   Hungarian rhapsody no. 11, in A minor.
   Consolation no. 3, in D-flat
   Paganini-Liszt etudes


RCA Victor LSC 2488
Berl Senofsky, violin.

Debussy, Claude.
   Sonata for violin and piano no. 3, in G minor
Faure, Gabriel.
   Sonata for violin and piano no. 1 in A, op. 13.


Columbia ML 5791

Balakirev, Mily.
   Oriental Fantasy for Piano, Op. 18 "Islamey"
Mussorgsky, Modest Petrovich.
   Pictures at an exhibition

Reissue: Sony Classical (2005)

London CS 6187
London Symphony Orchestra, Skitch Henderson, conductor.

Saint-Saens, Camille.
   Carnival of the animals

Reissue: London 436 105-2 (1993)


RCA Victrola VICS 1030
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Charles Munch, conductor.

Chopin, Frederic.
   Concerto for Piano no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11
Mendelssohn, Felix.
   Capriccio brillant for piano and orchestra in B minor, Op. 22

Columbia AMS 6444 "Gary Graffman plays Russian piano music"

Rachmaninoff, Sergei
   étude-tableau in C-sharp minor, op. 33, no. 9
   Barcarolle, op. 10, no. 3
   Prelude in A minor, op. 32, no. 8
   Prelude in G-sharp minor, op. 32, no. 12
   Prelude in G minor, op. 23, no. 5
   Elegie, op. 3, no. 1
   Polichinelle, op. 3, no. 4


RCA Victor LM 2715
Berl Senofsky, violin. Shirley Trepel, cello.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Trio for Piano and Strings no 11 in G major, Op. 121a "Kakadu Variations"
Brahms, Johannes.
   Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in C major, Op. 87

Columbia MS 6634
New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, conductor.

Rachmaninoff, Sergei.
   Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18
   Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43

Reissues: Columbia M 31813 (1973), CBS 36722 (1990)


Columbia MS 6735

Schubert, Franz.
   Fantasy for Piano in C major, D 760/Op. 15 "Wanderer"
   Sonata for Piano in C minor, D 958


Library of Congress Music Division concert, 1966-11-04
Juilliard String Quartet.

Bloch, Ernest.
   Quintets, piano, strings, no. 1
Dvorák, Antonín.
   Quintets, piano, strings, op. 81, A major

Columbia: MS 6925
Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell, conductor.

Prokofiev, Sergei.
   Concerto for Piano no 1 in D flat major, Op. 10
   Concerto for Piano no 3 in C major, Op. 26
   Sonata for piano no. 3 in A minor, op. 28

Reissue: CBS 37806 (1990)


Columbia MS 6978

Schumann, Robert.
   Carnaval, op. 9
   Symphonic etudes for piano, op. 13


Columbia MS 7276

Brahms, Johannes.
   Variations for Piano on a theme by Paganini, Op. 35
   Variations and Fugue for Piano in B flat major on a theme by Handel, Op. 24


Columbia 30078

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonata for piano no 21 in C major, op. 53, "Waldstein"
   Sonata for piano no 23 in F minor, op. 57, "Appassionata"

Library of Congress Music Division concert, 1970-12-11.
Henryk Szeryng, violin.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonatas, violin, piano, no. 3, op. 12, no. 3, Eb major
   Sonatas, violin, piano, no. 9, op. 47, A major
Brahms, Johannes.
   Sonatas, violin, piano, no. 3, op. 108, D minor
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus.
   Sonatas, violin, piano, K. 296, C major. Allegro

Reissue: Bridge 9165 (2005)


Library of Congress Music Division concert, 1971-12-03
Henryk Szeryng, violin.

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonatas, violin, piano, no. 1, op. 12, no. 1, D major
Schumann, Robert.
   Sonatas, violin, piano, no. 1, op. 105, A minor
Brahms, Johannes.
   Sonatas, violin, piano, no. 1, 78, G major

Columbia MG 3083
Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor.

Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich.
   Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23
   Concerto for Piano no 2 in G major, Op. 44
   Concerto for Piano no 3 in E flat major, Op. 75: 1st movement, Allegro brillante

Reissue: Sony Classical 94737 (2005)


Library of Congress Music Division concert, 1975-03-14
Berl Senofsky, violin.

Brahms, Johannes.
   Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 in A major, Op. 100
Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonatas, violin, piano, no.10, op. 96, G major
Prokofiev, Sergey..
   Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 80
Schumann, Robert.
   Scherzo for Violin and Piano in C minor, WoO 2 "FAE Sonata"

Reissue (without the Beethoven piece): Bridge 9118 (2002)


Columbia Masterworks 33890

Beethoven, Ludwig van.
   Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110
   Sonata for Piano no. 32 in C minor, op. 111


CBS Odyssey Y35203

Bartok, Bela.
   Suite for Piano, Op. 14/Sz 62.
Lees, Benjamin.
   Sonata for piano no. 4


Columbia Masterworks JS 36020 "Manhattan (Original soundtrack)"
New York Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta, conductor.

Gershwin, George.
   Rhapsody in blue


New World Records 80445
Curtis Institute Orchestra, André Previn, conductor.

Rorem, Ned.
   Piano concerto for left hand and orchestra


Deutsche Grammophon 449 188-2
Wiener Philharmoniker, André Previn, conductor

Strauss, Richard.
   Parergon for piano left hand and Orch, Op. 73


Arabesque 6707
Lark String Quartet.

Schnittke, Alfred.
   Quintet for Piano and Strings


Sony Classical 89266

Chopin, Frederic.
   Preludes for Piano, Op. 28: no 15 in D flat major "Raindrop"


Eloquence 466673
London Symphony Orchestra, Skitch Henderson, conductor.

Saint-Saëns, Camille
   Carnival of the animals


Reference Recordings 103
Minnesota Orchestra, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conductor.

Skrowaczewski, Stanislaw.
   Concerto Nicolo


This discography was assembled using available catalog records, internet resources, discographies, and other works. Especially included are the performers' Library of Congress concert appearances, the recordings of which reside in the Library of Congress's Recorded Sound collections. Excluded are the numerous promotional and special market reissues of excerpts of complete recordings.

Although every attempt has been made to be comprehensive, some recordings may have inadvertently been missed. Please send any additions and corrections to

While many of the recordings listed here are in the collections of the Library of Congress, not all are. If you have a question about specific recordings, please contact the Recorded Sound Reference Center at 202-707-7833. All recordings listed are protected by applicable Federal and State laws. The Library of Congress cannot provide copies of any of these recordings without proper permission from the copyright holder(s).