Obituary: Juilliard professor Joseph Bloch, 91

Posted on: March 16, 2009

In an obituary of piano pedagogue Joseph Bloch, Margalit Fox writes in Sunday’s (3/15) New York Times: “Joseph Bloch was a learned guide for thousands of young pianists, many now among the finest alive. And though he indelibly shaped world-famous performers for nearly half a century, Mr. Bloch did so almost entirely without giving private lessons. Mr. Bloch, who died on March 4 at 91, was a professor of piano literature at the Juilliard School in New York. His death, at his home in Larchmont, N.Y., was of a heart attack, his family said. For five decades (with an interruption in the 1980s when he tried to retire but proved indispensable and was persuaded to return), every Juilliard pianist passed through Mr. Bloch’s classroom. His pupils included many of the best-known performers of the second half of the 20th century, among them Van Cliburn, Emanuel Ax, Garrick Ohlsson, Misha Dichter, Jeffrey Siegel and Jeffrey Swann. … What he taught was not so much the how-to of pianism but the who, the why and the what-if. For undergraduates, Mr. Bloch taught a required two-year survey of the piano repertory. For graduate students, he taught a series of classes on concentrated topics: a year plumbing the Haydn sonatas, the Chopin mazurkas or the Mozart concertos.”
Posted March 16, 2009