Paul Hofmann was born in Buffalo, New York in 1962. His parents were Paul’s first piano teachers, and he went on to study at the National Music Camp (Interlochen, Michigan) and at the Eastman School of Music, where he now serves full-time on the Eastman Community Music School faculty.
In these capacities Paul teaches private composition and jazz piano, as well as a variety of jazz classes and improvisation workshops ranging from Jazz Composition & Arranging and Jazz Lab Band to Jazz History and Diploma Jazz Piano to three innovative classes Hofmann has introduced into the curriculum: New Inventions & Etudes, Contemporary Popular Composition and Transcribing Music.
Paul is fortunate to have numbered among his students some of the best young jazz pianists and composers in the world, including Christopher Ziemba, Nick Weiser, Matt Podd, Angelo DiLoreto, Joshua Condon, and Matt Valerio. For years, Paul has been proud of his best students’ notable successes: performing in the most important venues (including Carnegie Hall), appearing on the most important jazz programs (including NPR’s “Piano Jazz”), and winning scores of national and local competitions.
Hofmann is a featured instructor at both of Eastman's annual summer jazz camps, leading combos for both camps (High School and Middle School) in addition to co-teaching a jazz arranging workshop with Eastman's noted composer Dave Rivello. Both this workshop and Paul’s annual Kilbourn Hall recital commence during the High School jazz camp a couple weeks before the Middle School camp begins, co-led by Howard Potter and Bill Tiberio.
Paul has performed and recorded with many of the finest musicians, having several notable television and radio appearances to his credit. In addition to Hofmann’s dual role as composer and pianist for Sons of Sound Productions (appearing on “Escapade,” “Interconnection,” “Fallen Angel,” and “Out of the Darkness” with guitarist Bob Sneider), Paul is represented as composer on vocalist Kevin Mahogany’s “Double Rainbow” (Enja Records), “Kevin Mahogany Big Band” (Zebra Records/Mahogany Jazz) and on the Frank Mantooth Jazz Orchestra’s “A Miracle” (Sea Breeze Records), as pianist on “The Kansas City Boulevard Big Band” (Sea Breeze), and in both roles on drummer Michael Melito’s “’Bout Time!,” “My Conception” (both on MHR Records) and “In The Tradition”. Paul and Bob have also released an acclaimed third duo disc entitled “Serve and Volley,” on Origin Records. Hofmann is also featured as composer, arranger and performer on “Nocturne for Ava,” the second Bob Sneider-Joe Locke film noir project (Origin Records).
Since 1991, MHR has been a primary outlet for Hofmann’s piano playing and composing. The seventeen digital projects released to date have consisted of everything from solo piano performances to duets to jazz trio, quartet and quintet arrangements, and have featured exceptional sidemen (including many highly-regarded jazz artists).
When not recording, teaching or writing music (Hofmann has been commissioned to compose dozens of pieces over the years), Paul finds time to perfom with many superb musicians including Bob Sneider, Mike Melito and bassist Danny Vitale.
Other noted jazz artists Hofmann has performed with include violinist Claude “Fiddler” Williams; bassists Ron Carter, Todd Coolman, Milt Abel, Mike Richmond, Jay Leonhart, Phil Palombi and Martin Wind; drummer Steve Gadd; vocalists Diane Reeves and Karrin Allyson; trombonists Steve Davis, Fred Wesley, John Fedchock, Wycliffe Gordon and David Gibson; vibraphonists Joe Locke and Howard Potter; trumpeters Byron Stripling, Warren Vache, Joe Magnarelli, John Swana, Alex Norris, Richie Vitale, Steve Fishwick and John Sneider (with John appearing in the MHR catalog); clarinetist Ken Peplowski; and saxophonists Anthony Braxton, Eric Alexander, Gerry Niewood, Joe Romano, Frank Tiberi, Don Menza, Larry McKenna, Richie Cole, Vincent Herring, Bruce Johnstone, Walt Weiskopf, Michael Hashim, Harry Allen, Frank Basile, Osian Roberts, Grant Stewart and Ralph Lalama (with Grant and Ralph both also appearing on MHR recordings).
Paul has performed as featured guest artist with Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He has accompanied artists from baritone Robert Merrill to comedians Frank Gorshin and The Smothers Brothers, and once played piano for Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
“My friend has proven himself to be musically fearless. Paul manages to combine his classical and jazz sensibilities into a cohesive whole, with admirable pianism at the core… truly a mature and caring artist and teacher.”
— pianist-composer Harold Danko, Chairman, Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media, Eastman School of Music