Text Box: PIANIST autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247


Price: $125.00


Autographed and inscribed photograph by the important pianist to Gerald Uhlfelder her South American concert manager with happy remembrances, 1960.

Dorfmann (1899-1984) was born in the Ukraine.  Her early teachers are quite unknown, though she made her concert debut at the age of ten and at the age of eleven was accompanying the year younger Jascha Heifetz.  She was awarded a scholarship to study for a year (1916-1917) at the Paris Conservatoire with Isidor Philipp, coming back to Russia which was in the throws of the Revolution.  Her abilities to perform in public curtailed, she convinced the authorities to allow her to return to Paris for further study in 1920; she never returned.  She based herself in Brussels and from that time forward she was in demand as a recitalist and with the important orchestras of  Europe and Great Britain.  She made her American debut at Town Hall in 1936, returned for concerts in 1938 and was selected by Arturo Toscanini to be the first female pianist to perform under his baton on December 2, 1939 with the NBC Symphony during his Beethoven Festival at Carnegie Hall during her third American tour. (She had emigrated to the United States in 1938) She performed the Beethoven Choral Fantasy, the first and last time he ever conducted the work and it is available on records.  Toscanini selected her as she was known to have a strong drive for success and perform with the grand gesture and big technique.  She would later perform and record the Beethoven 1st piano concerto with the Maestro and orchestra.  While she would perform works by classical period composers like Haydn and Mozart in concert and recital and even 20th Century composers including Menotti and Ravel in recital, she was best known for her performances and recordings of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schumann.  In 1956 she was appointed Professor at Juilliard where she was known as “The Grande Dame” behind her back.  Apparently prone to verbal embarrassing gaffes with a heavy accent, (A revolving door was a “revolting door” etc.) her pupils found that part of her persona  endearing, though she was known as a task master.  She kept an oil painting of Toscanini in her studio.  She was also known for teaching African-American students when others at Juilliard would not in the 1950’s.  She kept up her concerts in a serious way through 1959 and thought she did accept engagements afterwards, she spent the bulk of her time teaching and when she did, they generally were to record in studio, or from time to time on the concert platform.

Amusingly she kept her mother in an apartment across from hers as she did not know how to cook and relied on her mother for her meals.   Her son in law, the photographer John Lewis wrote in his 2010 biography, Flotsam, that she was attempting to boil eggs and was confounded by the process, so she went to her mother and told her “They are dancing in the water! What do I do”, her mother told her, “Play a Chopin Waltz”!

Gerard Uhlfelder was a German-Jewish classical concert manager and promoter who escaped to Buenos Aires in 1938 and founded Organización de Conciertos Gérard.  A man with extraordinary contacts in New York and Europe, he promoted and organized concerts in Buenos Aires and throughout South America for most of the great musicians of his day, from Busch, Heifetz, Ricci and Szigeti, to Brendel, Rubinstein and Serkin.  He also arranged ballet company, opera company and orchestra tours.  When he retired in the 1990’s he had the most powerful agency in South America.  His biography of his life, Allegro non Troppo is an interesting read.