Obituary: Naomi Graffman, painter, writer, Curtis Institute mainstay, 90

Posted on: June 21, 2019

“Naomi Graffman, 90, a painter and writer who was the wife of former Curtis Institute of Music director and president Gary Graffman, died Monday, June 17, at a long-term-care facility in Manhattan,” writes Peter Dobrin in Wednesday’s (6/19) Philadelphia Inquirer.“With her husband, Mrs. Graffman was a partner in guiding Curtis through a critical era of growth and an expanded public profile between 1986 and 2006.” Current Curtis President and CEO Roberto Díaz said, “ ‘She was always there, she was very active, she volunteered at the school in so many different ways.’… Her father, Max Helfman, was accepted as a composition student of Rosario Scalero’s at [Curtis] around the time she was born, and she would visit as little more than a toddler…. Born in New York, Mrs. Graffman studied composition with Wallingford Riegger and Stefan Wolpe … Helfman, her father, was a well-known choral composer and conductor … She attended the High School of Music and Art and, despite being steeped in music, ultimately chose to be an artist…. Her works hang in the homes of pianist Yuja Wang, conductor Yuri Temirkanov, and Curtis piano professor Eleanor Sokoloff…. Other than her husband, she leaves no immediate survivors…. Donations in her name may be made to the Curtis Institute of Music.”

Posted June 21, 2019