Obituary: conductor and pianist Mimi Stern-Wolfe, 84

Posted on: June 29, 2021

“Mimi Stern-Wolfe, a New York-based pianist and conductor, died on June 21 at the age of 84,” writes Sarah Shay in Monday’s (6/28) Musical America (subscription required). “The founder of Downtown Music Productions (DMP), in early the 1980s, she was a staunch advocate for a woman’s place in concert halls and professional orchestras. Born on May 27, 1937, Wolfe graduated from Queens College and earned an M.M. from the New England Conservatory before moving to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger…. Programming concerts [at DMP] that championed living composers or highlighted important cultural and political issues—feminism, gay activism, socialism, and multiculturalism—she often previewed concerts in her lifelong Lower East Side neighborhood before presenting them in uptown venues. After presenting several programs reintroducing the work of Erwin Schulhoff, she offered Composers of the Holocaust, a series that featured many other lost Terezin and Eastern European composers…. On World Aids Day in 1990, Wolfe began presenting an annual concert of music by composers … who had died of the disease. She also produced original operas, new music, women composers…. Wolfe also [presented] creative programming, orchestra workshops, and original works to young people on the Lower East Side for over 40 years…. Until 2019 [she] conducted a Community and Senior Chorus at New York City’s 14th Street YM-YWHA.”