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Deborah was always so sweet and always encouraging to me. Ill never forget the time when I was watching Walkure and sitting next to Deborah when she asked me if I was interested in playing the big glissando that was coming up with all four harps...and after a short and brief instruction, I made my debut on harp at the Met. Levine was even conducting. Its a memory I will never forget. I was dubbed an honorary section member after that day. : ) I have been in a state of disbelief and so sad.
-David Sapadin, clarinetist
New York, NY
Not knowing who she was or where she came from, one day at opera rehearsal break at Juilliard (1980s), I asked Deborah if she knew 'The Swan". She chuckled and looked at me like I had three heads, but she was in a way disarmed by the innocence of my question. Then with a glint in her eye she said "Sure", and so we played the piece. It was sublime. Deborah's depth of tone and musicality was as honest and poignant as she was in life. She loved people watching and her sense of humor was always a source of joy. Her laugh was warm and distinct. She taught me tolerance, patience and sensitivity, and frankly how to be a better thinker and musician. She showed me how to navigate New York City - how to fight the crowd for a limited supply of chocolate croissants or just take a warm spring day in Central Park and turn it into a journey. Yes, Deborah was an incredible musician but the human being behind that harp was the true gift to all who knew her, worked with her and loved her.
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Deborah Hoffman enriched and transformed the lives she touched. Deborah's smile, once experienced, was unforgettable. She was a perfectionist in the best sense of the word. Deborah cared, truly and deeply. And she was sweet, kind and understanding. There is no one who understood the meaning and importance of time better. Please take a few moments to listen to Deborah's solo in "Ancor non giunse" from Lucia di Lammermoor or selections from “Chopin Reflections: Transcriptions for Flute and Harp.” All those who knew Deborah, who had the immeasurably good fortune to have known her, were graced by her presence. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. My heartfelt condolences to Deborah's family, friends and colleagues.
Newark, New Jersey
I was unable to attend the service for my dear colleague Deborah. I wish to convey my deepest sympathies to her family since I was unable to do so at that time.
Although Deborah and I had been in the orchestra together for all of the 21 years I have been in the MET Orchestra, I got to know her better recently during a run of one of the last operas she was to perform. As colleagues in the onstage Banda in Julio Cesare, we spent lots of time in the Artists' Dressing area offstage, waiting for our call to the Stage. It was during these idle moments that we had conversations in which I saw even more than ever before what a quiet, but intense and deeply passionate person she was. Her dedication to her art, to her job, to her friends, and to her family was palpable. And her love for all those things was just as obvious. And what a delightful smile and laugh she always had!
She is already missed in our ensemble as well as in our every day lives.
-Susan Spector-Oboist, MET Orchestra,
Leonia, New Jersey
I'm deeply saddened to hear of Deborah's passing. I knew her (though not well) while living in Florida (1974-'77) performing with the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony in Tampa/St. Petersburg, now known as the Florida Orchestra. Her dad, Irwin, was the conductor of the orchestra. The entire family is musical and included a string quartet with Eleanor and Irwin on violins, my father, Harold Newton on viola, and cellist son, Gary. Joel occasionally joined them on piano and later Toby, performed viola. Of course, Deborah, played with them sometimes although she was only a teenager. Deborah was obviously extremely talented and I knew she would have a great musical future.
Blessings to the Hoffman family.
Over the years I heard much of my cousin Deborah, especially from my grandmother Clara. I send my deepest condolences to Esther and the entire family.
-Dahlia Falk Zaguri,
With much sadness I learned of Deborah's untimely passing.I will always remember her from our days in Florida,her humor,
and great musicianship and talent.She will certainly be missed.My sincere condolences go to her parents Esther Glazer and Irwin Hoffman and to Joel,Gary and
Toby as well as to her extended family.
It was privilege to know Deborah. We were class mates at Juilliard and I always admired and respected her both as a musician and personally. My sincere condolences to her family and friends.
Los Angeles, California
So very sad to hear the news about Deborah... she found the courage to just carry on playing and being a wonderful harpist and human-being despite suffering. My personal condolences to all her family and all who knew Deborah.
Deborah will be remembered by many of my friends and colleagues in the United kingdom Harp Association, so I also send our condolences (as President of the association),
What a wonderful artist. And what sad news to learn of her death. I join the thousands who have loved her artistry in sending condolences to all of her family and friends on this tremendous loss.
New York, New York
My deepest condolences to to the Nierenberg and Hoffman families. Deborah was a gifted musician and fine person. I will carry her, and you all, in my thoughts.
Our sincere condolences to the Hoffmans, Esther, Irwin and sons, for their tragic loss.
-Tony & Carol Skey,
St. Petersburg, Florida
I had the great pleasure of playing Debussy Trio with Deborah at Juilliard, what a fabulous musician and person! My condolences to the families Hoffman/Nierenberg. Such a great loss.
I am deeply saddened to hear of Deborah's passing, your enormous loss. My deepest condolences goes out to the entire Family and to all those who loved her and enjoyed her angelic sound on her harp. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
St. Petersburg, Florida
While I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Deborah, I have been blessed to work with her husband Roger during his trips to Dallas. My deepest condolences to Deborah's family and loved ones as they cope with this enormous loss. The world is a more beautiful place because of the music she made, and because of her presence in it.
I am deeply saddened to hear of Deborah's passing. I was a member of the Met Chorus since '91 and remember so many wonderful performances where she was featured. So sorry for your loss.
New York, New York
Deborah was extraordinary in every way, and so courageous beyond words. We are deeply saddened and send our most sincere condolences and love to the Hoffman/Nierenberg families.
-Aloysia Friedmann and Jackie Parker,
I was manager of the building that Deb moved into. We became fast friends. Part of my job is knowing what people do for a living. Had it not been for that, I probably would never have known, she was that modest and humble. She was an amazing person! She saw the world through love and respect, and treated everybody as such.
A Beautiful Lady.
West Melbourne, Florida
I have worked with Roger quite a few times in the Dallas area. So very sorry for this tremendous loss.
A great loss of such an extraordinary person. She will always be that " big sister" colleague I always looked up to from 35 years ago.
San Francisco, California
It's been many years since I had the pleasure of working with Irwin and his extraordinary family, and I have not forgotten the brilliant musicianship that Deborah brought to our stage. My most sincere condolences go out to the family.
Deborah was myson Matt's teacher at Manhattan School of Music.From the moment I met her I felt she was the right teacher for him.She was kind,intelligent,inspiring and a gifted musician.I feel blessed to have known her having only spent a few dinners and moments together.I am so grateful to her for all she has given my son.My deepest sympathy to her family,friends and students. Sincerely,
-Diane Cipollini (Matt Tutsky's mom),
Deborah was a peaceful, wise beautiful presence everyday at the Met. Her sound was one of the most beautiful, heavenly sounds I've ever heard from any instrument. You are truly missed. Love to all of your many loved ones.
My deepest condolences to you all. I am saddened to hear this and am so sorry for your - and our - loss.
University Park, Maryland
Though we did not know Deborah, we have so many fond memories of your family from our years in Tampa, and of Gary from IU. Our sincere condolences on your great loss--may her memory be for a blessing--
-Stefanie Jacob and Scott Tisdel,
Our condolences...may happy memories and a loving community carry you forward. Thank you both for sharing your gifts with the world.
-Robin and David Korevar,
Deborah was an extraordinary human being. Her beautiful playing and enthusiasm for life, music, friends only deepened as the years went by. She was so strong in the face of so much adversity. My love goes out to the entire family. I will be with you in spirit tomorrow.
3 years ago , my daughter and I were welcomed into her home for a sample harp lesson as if we were old friends -- Deborah's warmth was palpable. May you be comforted by her gorgeous music and lovely memories. Truly sorry for your loss.
I am so sad to see this. Deborah was an incredible musician and a witty, caring person. I have fond memories of spending time with her and her fellow harpists as well as her brother Toby while studying in New York. My deepest sympathies to her family.
St. Louis, Missouri
My heart goes out to Deborah's family, the MET family and all those who loved her, her playing, and her bright spirit. I will never forget her playing the Introduction to Lucia's first aria in the MET rehearsal room, as she came back after her lung transplant. It was my first orchestra rehearsal, the room erupted in applause for this beloved colleague. God speed, the harps in heaven now have a more beautiful sound...
Newport Beach, California
I have played for Roger on several occasions in the DFW area. I am so sorry to hear of this. Condolences to Roger and the entire family.
When I was first in the (then) Florida Gulf Coast Symphony,I met Deborah and was impressed by her musical maturity, her kindness and great spirit. Condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. Sending much love to all.
-Gretchen Langlitz, Cellist TFO
My deepest condolences to Maestro Hoffman and family. I had met Deborah long ago. She had a beautiful spirit.
Indian Shores, Florida
Deborah was an inspiration to harpists around the world. I loved her playing. I am very sorry we have lost her so soon.
We are saying prayers for the whole family. I never knew Deborah, but had the tremendous honor of singing the Verdi Requiem with Maestro Hoffman in Florida years ago. My husband and I mourn your great loss and pray for God's comfort and blessings in the difficult days and years ahead. What a loss.
-Mary & Joseph Keesling,
Very sad to hear this news. My deepest condolences to the entire Hoffman family. Deborah has always been a bright light from the first time we met, over 35 yrs ago. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. With love,
-Toula Mahalas Bonié
I was so saddened to read this news. She was so vivacious and this just isn't fair. My condolences to the entire Hoffman family. My heart goes out to all of them.
Princeton, New Jersey
Deborah was my inspired duet partner while we were students at Juillliard together. She is still the best harpist I have ever worked with. Her sublime musicality was what first caught my attention 35 years ago; her legacy will live on. My sincere condolences to the family.
Many musicians in the Dallas-Fort Worth area know Deborah's husband Roger through his work here. His introduction always included his family . . . "married to the beautiful Deborah Hoffman, principal harpist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra." I feel like I've known her through hearing so many introductions. Deepest condolences to Roger and the Hoffman Family. We feel your loss.
I knew Deborah when we were students at Juilliard. What a sad loss. My deepest condolences to Roger, Gary, Toby and all who loved her.
Fort Worth, Texas
I studied with Deborah while earning my doctorate at MSM. Her depth of knowledge and passion for music was a never-ending source of inspiration. The world has lost you way too soon. Peace to all of us who will miss her here on Earth.
Deborah was a major force in my life both musically and personally. I first met her in the mid 80's and she inspired, challenged and humored me over the years. She was an adventuresome spirit, a fearless life-liver and treasured friend. She altered my life in so many ways and brought a refreshingly honest attitude to daily life. I will miss her tremendously.
As the spouse of a MET Orchestra member, I am greatly saddened at Deborah's passing. She was a marvelous musician, a great colleague to all and a friend. My family and I will miss her terribly.
Leonia, New Jersey
To the Hoffman family,
Deborah graced many lives with extraordinary music and great joy. She was a champion of many things and I was happy to know her as both a friend and gifted artist. Our family extends their deepest sympathies to you on the passing of Deborah. She will be missed. I will always treasure the memories I have with her both in friendship and in music.
With deepest condolences,
-Deborah S. Ziskind,
Washington, District of Columbia
I enjoyed more than one concert where Deborah performed with the Costa Rica Symphony under the baton of Maestro Irving Hoffman. She was beautiful to watch and wonderful to listen to her, especially knowing that father and daughter were together communicating on stage. Thank you both!